The Survival Mom » Preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:51:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Stock Your Pantry From Scratch: Homemade Apple Pie Filling http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-apple-pie-filling/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-apple-pie-filling/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:00:26 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19664 Apples just seem to overflow here at our homestead. And thankfully so! They are an excellent staple to have on the pantry shelf, easy to can & put up and best of all…delicious! If /when the SHTF, comfort foods will Read More

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Stock your pantry from scratch with this amazing apple pie filling you can yourself. Super easy recipe! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Apples just seem to overflow here at our homestead. And thankfully so! They are an excellent staple to have on the pantry shelf, easy to can & put up and best of all…delicious! If /when the SHTF, comfort foods will be soooo appreciated, even if the “S” in question is just a big Snowstorm!

Each year, we can huge quantities of applesauce, make apple butter for the grandparents, and dehydrate apple chips, but far and away our favorite way to preserve all the beautiful apples we get in the Fall is Apple Pie Filling! No matter how much we make, there can never be enough for our family and friends.

I can seasonally and in bulk, to stock the pantry shelves, teach my children the art of canning and have shelf stable (delicious) foods on hand, at the ready. This helps me use sales and in-season foods at the best price and quality, while keeping the pantry stocked.

Apples are so versatile that we came up with 27 Things You Can Do With Apples.  Now, it’s prime time to finish canning those apples and stock your pantry from scratch!

Homemade Apple Pie Filling!

When we think canning, most of us think about things like green beans and chili. But there is so much more to canning than vegetables and the old standards! Let’s can some DESSERT for those deep pantry shelves!

I love to have this super simple, yet very delicious, pie filling on my pantry shelf! It’s easy to can and makes for effortless desserts all year long. What’s not to love? Here’s my recipe for apple pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling

18 cups (of your favorite!) apples, peeled & sliced (about 6 lbs.)

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 cups brown sugar

1 cup cornstarch

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

¼ 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

8 cups water

In a large bowl, mix the apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside. In a large pot, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes. It will start to thicken up.

Add your apples and return to a boil. (You may want to drain off some of the lemon juice, but some folks think it adds a nice flavor.) Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Don’t forget to stir OFTEN. You don’t want this to burn!

Have your canner, quart jars, and lids hot and ready. Pack each jar with filling, leaving head space, 1 inch from the top.

Process in your water bath canner for 20 minutes. Makes about 5 – 6 quarts! Carefully remove your jars from the canner. Set your jars on a towel, counter, or table for 24 hours, then line your pantry shelf!

Enjoy! You’ve just made it so simple for yourself to have a homemade dessert ready in minutes for your family, to take to a family in need, or that last minute congregation or family gathering! We use this as a base ingredient to make apple pies, crisps, ice cream topping, dump cakes, etc., etc.–in minutes! Apple pie filling always makes a welcome gift, too. :-)

Take advantage of what He gives us. Canning  is truly a labor of love for me.

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Understand and Prevent 4 Kinds of Heat Loss http://thesurvivalmom.com/understand-prevent-heat-loss/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/understand-prevent-heat-loss/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:00:14 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19626 Maintaining your core body temperature is critical in a survival situation. Hypothermia can set in even at relatively mild temperatures. A fact that is often lost on many people is that heat is energy and cold is merely the absence Read More

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Do you know how to prevent heat loss? Do you know how to combat the four most common kinds? Do your KIDS know? If not, learn more in this post! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comMaintaining your core body temperature is critical in a survival situation. Hypothermia can set in even at relatively mild temperatures. A fact that is often lost on many people is that heat is energy and cold is merely the absence of that energy. Heat is a “thing” where cold isn’t. This is an important distinction so you’ll better understand the different ways heat is lost and how to prevent it from happening.

Different Types of Heat Loss

Conduction is the loss of heat through direct contact. Sitting on a cold rock can give you a chill, even if you’re otherwise sheltered from the elements. Your body heat is being leeched away by contact with a cold surface. The best way to prevent this is by insulating your body from the ground, such as sitting on a foam pad.

Ever been outside and have a sudden cool breeze give you a bit of a shiver? That’s convection at work. Think of your body as being encompassed by a thin layer of air that is constantly being warmed by your body heat. This “bubble” sort of insulates you a bit from the rest of the world. When a breeze or water flows past you, it can remove that bubble, causing you to feel cold. We combat this by wearing clothing that traps that air bubble around us.

Preventing heat lossRadiation is how we lose the most heat energy. We constantly radiate heat from our bodies, some at greater rates than others. If you’ve ever cuddled an infant, you know just how much of a little “hot box” they can be, right? We reduce the effects of heat loss through radiation by covering up, trapping as much of that radiated heat as we can.

When we exert ourselves, we begin to sweat. When we’re working hard, we heat up and our bodies try to cool us down by perspiring because evaporation is a cooling process. The problem comes in, though, when we’re trying to stay warm. When we’re fighting for survival in a cold climate, we want to avoid sweating as best we can.

Sweat not only robs us of body heat, the moisture can get trapped in our clothing, which can be detrimental to the insulating properties of our attire. This is why dressing in layers is important. As your work level increases, remove one or more layers of clothing to moderate your body temperature. Then bundle back up as you cool down.

Preventing Heat Loss

As a general rule, moisture is detrimental to survival, at least when it comes to maintaining our core temperatures. Water is a fabulous conductor of heat energy. It absorbs heat quickly and whisks it away from you. This is why it is vitally important to stay as dry as you can and, should you have the misfortune to get caught in a downpour or perhaps stumble into a stream, get a fire going as quickly as possible to dry yourself out.

This is also why constructing an expedient (emergency) shelter is important. Getting out of the elements helps prevent heat loss through convection (by reducing or eliminating the wind blowing across your body) as well as through evaporation (by keeping you dry). In a properly constructed shelter, your body heat will warm up the confines through radiation and you’ll insulate yourself from the ground to prevent heat loss through conduction.

See how it all works together?

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Holiday Fire Safety: Tips for the season and beyond http://thesurvivalmom.com/holiday-fire-safety/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/holiday-fire-safety/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19402 Halls decked with holly, a fresh pine adorned with hundreds of lights and glass ornaments, and scented candles spreading cheer — it’s a recipe for disaster! At this time of year, holiday fire safety is a major concern. In fact, this Read More

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The holidays are prime time for house fires. Here are some great tips AND a quick interview with Chicago Fire's Charlie Barnett! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com
Halls decked with holly, a fresh pine adorned with hundreds of lights and glass ornaments, and scented candles spreading cheer — it’s a recipe for disaster!

At this time of year, holiday fire safety is a major concern. In fact, this is the season when house fires and burn injuries increase more than at any other time of year. It’s a simple matter to reduce the risk factors that contribute to house fires, and earlier this week I had the opportunity to chat with actor and star of NBC’s Chicago Fire, Charlie Barnett, about steps to take to make sure your home doesn’t become a fire statistic.

You can listen to my interview with Charlie here.

Some of the tips he shared in our conversation are:

  • Water fresh trees frequently and pay even closer attention to any heat or fire hazards as the tree becomes drier.
  • Fresh Christmas trees should be no closer than 3 feet from any source of heat.
  • Double check all strings of lights for bare wires, frays, or kinks that might indicate damage to the wires.
  • Never leave an open flame candle unattended, especially around children.
  • Know basic first aid and what to do if someone is injured by fire.
  • In case of a fire, have an escape plan that everyone in the house has practiced, along with an official meeting place outside.

Charlie is working alongside the Shriners Hospitals for Children to help families become aware of fire danger now and throughout the year. You can visit their website, BeBurnAware.com, for more tips.

Perhaps his most helpful tip was the importance of not being distracted. The holidays bring with them some of the busiest times of the year, and it’s easy to overlook common sense safety measures, something as small as making sure cups of hot beverages are out of the reach of young children. Maybe the biggest lesson is to slow down, pay attention to what is going on around you, know where the kids and grandkids are and what they’re doing.

Don’t forget to protect valuables and vital documents

It’s not just the house, furniture, books, toys, and other household items that can burn in a house fire, it’s also important things that help us most in times of an emergency:

  • Insurance documents
  • Financial records
  • Cash and coins
  • Birth certificates
  • Copies of drivers licenses, Social Security cards, and tax records
  • See my complete list of important documents here.

To protect all these items and more, consider adding a fire resistant safe to your household. We have SentrySafes in our home and have found that they bring a great deal of peace of mind.

When you’re selecting the right safe for you, keep in mind that it should be both fire and water resistant. Fighting a fire takes a great deal of water and sometimes that water leads to mold growth. Fire, water, mold, any one of those can cause serious damage to documents, computer CDs and DVDs, photos, and more.

What do you want to store?

If storing documents safely is a concern, your best best is a heavy duty, water and fire resistant filing box. I have this one. It was a very simple matter to lift my important files from my desk filing drawer and drop them into this safe. If you store nothing else, store those vital documents. When these are lost in a fire, or in any other disaster, it’s difficult to replace them in a timely manner.

You probably also have various valuables and perhaps family heirlooms around the house. Great-grandma’s wedding ring, an American burial flag from a veteran’s funeral, gold and silver coins, photos, all of these deserve to be protected. Someday you’ll want to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Losing items like this in a fire is losing a part of your family heritage. I have a larger combination safe just for items like these. In fact, mine has an alarm as well.

One item to keep in a safe is cash. Even if it’s just $50 or $100, following a fire or other disaster, you’ll want to have some cash immediately to cover incidental expenses, purchase food and gas, pay for a few nights at a hotel, and buy whatever supplies are needed by your family.

Handguns, rifles, magazines and ammunition also need to be protected from fire. Both fire and smoke will damage the metal, plastic, and wood used in firearms and magazines. If kept in a water and fire resistant safe, they will very likely survive a house fire.

A few final holiday fire safety tips

Sometimes we overlook the simplest precautions, and it doesn’t hurt to be reminded!

1.  Have you installed smoke detectors in all bedrooms, in the kitchen away from the stove, at the top of stairways, and in larger living areas, such as a family room?

2.  Does each smoke detector have fresh batteries and have you recently tested the alarm to make sure it works?

3.  Do you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and at least one more in the house? Do you know how to activate and use an extinguisher correctly?

4.  If you have a live Christmas tree, it would be helpful to keep a small extinguisher close enough to the tree where it could be quickly grabbed and put to use. If you’ve ever seen a dry Christmas tree burn, you know how quickly they go up in flames.

5.  An artificial Christmas tree should be labeled “Fire Resistant”. The tree could still catch fire, but it will burn more slowly, giving you more time to either put out the fire yourself or get everyone out of the house.

6.  Use this time of year to begin sorting through family papers, photos, old letters, and other heirlooms. Enjoy sharing them with family and friends, and then store them in a fire resistant safe.

And, as always include every member of the family with your fire safety plans. Here’s a great picture book on that topic for kids ages, along with this one, Stop Drop and Roll. This page from FEMA has some great resources for teaching kids about fire safety.

Stay safe this season and throughout the New Year!

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5 Post-Emergency Herbs: The Calming Cuppa http://thesurvivalmom.com/calming-herbal-teas/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/calming-herbal-teas/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 08:00:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19842 Five Herbs for Emotional Support Post Emergency The experience of dealing with an emergency situation can leave you feeling shaken, drained, and upset. Stopping long enough to go through the familiar motions of making a cup of tea can give Read More

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In an emergency, adrenaline fuels us but doesn't just disappear when it ends. In an emergency these 5 herbs can help calm the jitters. | www.TheSurvivalMom.comFive Herbs for Emotional Support Post Emergency

The experience of dealing with an emergency situation can leave you feeling shaken, drained, and upset. Stopping long enough to go through the familiar motions of making a cup of tea can give you a focal point to counter feelings of being scatterbrained and disorganized, but not just any tea will do.

Earl grey, green tea, and other teas made with camellia sinensis (the tea most people are familiar with) could add to your jitters because they contain caffeine.  Turning to herbs that are traditionally considered to be calming and beneficial for the nervous system is a much better idea.

For best results, make sure to purchase your post-emergency herbs in organic, loose-leaf form from a reputable herb merchant. Steer clear of herbal teas that come in ready to use tea bags unless they come from a small company which specializes in strictly herbal teas. Studies have shown that mass marketed brands may contain filler plants, or be adulterated with heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides.

Rose

Although most people think of perfume and potpourri when they think of roses, the petals from red roses are also an important botanical for herbalists. Traditionally, rose petal tea is considered to be very soothing for the nervous system. Modern herbalists often turn to it for helping balance the emotions - especially its ability to provide an uplifting and calming influence. Rose petals pair well with a sprinkle of cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg and sweetened with honey for a pleasant, exotic flavor.

Linden

Linden blossoms, which come from the tree Tilia cordata, make a popular, traditional tea in Europe and in Latin American folk medicine that is reputed to be ideal during times of nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. Linden has a sweet, pleasant flavor that make it a favorite for many people.

Chamomile

Beloved plant of adults and children everywhere, chamomile is another traditional herb to turn to when one feels fussy and out of sorts. Chamomile can be especially helpful if there is an upset stomach from anxiety or nervousness.There are two kinds of chamomile- matricaria recutita (german chamomile) and chamaemelum nobile (roman chamomile). German chamomile is more common in the herb trade in the United States, but both types are traditionally used in much the same way.

Hops

Most widely known as one of the key flavorings in beer, hops (humulus lupulus) has a long record of use as a traditional calming herb and sleep aid. Hops tea has a bitter flavor, but adding a little honey, which sweetens and deepens the flavor, can make it much more pleasant. The German Commission E, an advisory board that focuses on the medicinal use of traditional herbal remedies in Germany, approved the use of hops for restlessness and anxiety.

Valerian

During WWI and WWII, valeriana officinalis was used in Britain for “shell shock” (what is now more appropriately recognized as a stress response to combat situations), and also given to civilians stressed by constant air-raids. Traditional herbalists viewed this herb as having a potent sedative effect on the central nervous system, and often employed it for cases of epilepsy, severe anxiety, and nerve related pain.

It is interesting to note that not everyone responds to valerian in the same way. Valerian may make some people feel more awake and alert rather than sleepy. If you have pets, be aware that some cats enjoy valerian as much as they do catnip, so they may take an interest in your tea!

* Please remember that although herbs are natural and generally wholesome, these herbs may react with prescriptions for anxiety, high blood pressure, or depression. Be sure to check with your doctor before using herbs if you are on prescription medications. If you are hypotensive, these herbs may not be a good fit for you. Be sure to check with your doctor.

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What’s in YOUR Wallet? The Art of EDC (Every Day Carry) http://thesurvivalmom.com/edc-whats-in-your-wallet/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/edc-whats-in-your-wallet/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 08:10:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19631 To far too many people, being “prepped” means accumulating piles and piles of stuff, much of which various so-called experts insist you carry with you at all times. Some of those folks apparently feel you should never leave the house Read More

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To far too many people, being “prepped” means accumulating piles and piles of stuff, much of which various so-called experts insist you carry with you at all times. Some of those folks apparently feel you should never leave the house without a 95lb expedition style pack strapped to your back, even for a walk to the mailbox and back.

EDC stands for Every Day Carry. Today, we’re going to talk about taking a minimalist approach to what you really should have with you at all times, or at least any time you venture out from home. The goal is to have at least some amount of survival essentials at arm’s reach, without your pants threatening to fall from the weight of all the gear in your pockets. While it doesn’t need to all fit in your wallet, that’s closer to the size we’re talking about than a tactical backpack is.

Basic Gear

First and foremost, I firmly believe a good quality knife is essential to survival. It should be your constant companion, leaving your side only when mandated by law, such as when entering a government building like a courthouse or when flying. For most people, this means either a folding knife or a multi-tool. Personally, while I’ve been known to carry both on occasion, I tend to favor the knife simply due to weight. My suggestions for a folding knife include a Bad Monkey Folder (which I’ve carried constantly for about two years now), a Swiss Army Knife (Tinker Model is my preference), or a Buck 110 lockback. For multi-tools, I don’t know that you can go wrong with anything produced by Leatherman or SOG.

Next on the list is fire making. This is another survival essential. A butane lighter will suffice in most cases. I’d caution you, though, about buying one of those cheap ones you’ll find at gas stations, the ones that are typically sold two or three for a buck. They tend to leak and will go dry over time, perhaps without you realizing it. Better to invest an extra dollar and get a brand name like Bic. You could go a step further and wrap a few feet of duct tape around the lighter as that can come in handy for quick clothing patchwork and other uses. Duct tape even makes decent tinder.

For most of us, a cell phone is already part of our EDC gear. If you’re reluctant to invest in any sort of monthly service, at the least perhaps consider a pay-as-you-go phone. A cell phone can be your lifeline in an emergency. Get into the habit of charging your phone each and every day. What I do is plug my phone into the charger every night before heading to bed. This way, I start every day with a full battery. If you’re a heavy cell user, consider purchasing a portable power pack that to keep in your pocket or purse. Be sure to have the proper charging cord with you as well.

A small flashlight will be very appreciated should you find yourself out and about when a power outage hits. More than once, I’ve ended up using my pocket flashlight to illuminate my way through a darkened store or mall, even when visiting the facilities at work.

Items You Might Miss

I like to keep a flash drive (sometimes called a thumb drive) with me as well. It contains copies of my identification and important papers, such as insurance policies. Probably overkill as I already have copies of these things elsewhere, but the flash drive or a memory card weighs nearly nothing.

Finally, a small amount of emergency cash is advised. In this day and age, many people use plastic for almost every purchase from filling up their gas tank to their daily caffeine fix. The problem comes in when there is a power outage or perhaps something goes wonky with the local online services and stores are unable to process credit card transactions. Keeping $20 or $30 in cash on your person allows you to still make those purchases you feel are necessary to daily life, though admittedly I doubt you’ll be able to fill your car’s fuel tank with just twenty bucks. The cash can be kept in a concealed pocket in your wallet or purse, if not directly in your pocket.

The overall idea behind a minimalist approach to EDC is to always have some amount of survival gear with you, without resorting to lugging an entire bug out bag in and out of every place you go. Naturally, you should have a bug out bag or a get home bag in your vehicle or at your workplace, but you don’t need to carry it to the bathroom or lunch. The EDC gear is just for normal day-to-day use.

So, what’s in your wallet that will help you in an emergency?

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16 Non-Traditional Containers For Your Bug Out Bag/Emergency Kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:37:28 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10665 When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets Read More

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A backpack might not be the best choice for an emergency kit. Check out this list of non-traditional containers! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets and pouches to help organize your gear and supplies, they can be carried on your back, leaving hands free, but they aren’t always the right solution for every scenario.

Here are a few non-traditional containers for your bug out bag or emergency kit that maybe you haven’t considered.

A rolling suitcase on wheels

Look for sturdy wheels because if one breaks off, you’ll be carrying that suitcase. Not fun! Some of these suitcases also have backpack straps.

A Rubbermaid container with lid

You select whichever size suits your needs and space. These are a good choice because the bin itself can be used to hold water, kindling, and a lot more.

Under the bed storage container

Mine fits perfectly in the back of my Tahoe and the transparent plastic lets me see the contents.

Trash can on wheels

These hold a lot, are very sturdy, and have an attached lid. They will also be heavy and difficult to load into a truck. However, if a trailer is part of your bug out/evacuation plans, you could store a trash can, fully packed, in the trailer. Include a box of heavy-duty black trash bags to keep the interior of the trash can clean if you ever have to use it for actual trash!

Space Bags 

Great for use with softer items, such as blankets, coats, jackets, and pillows.

5-gallon buckets with lid

Again, these buckets have multiple uses besides holding your emergency kit contents. A product like the Bucket Backpack would provide an alternative way to carry the bucket longer distances.

Multiple milk crates

My husband swears by these! They are extremely durable, stack easily, but do not have lids. They’re also free if you can find a grocery store that will give you one or more.

Military duffel bag

Soft-sided means you’ll be able to shove this bag behind and between things, and they come in several sizes. Their muted colors are also a plus.

Ziploc Flexible Tote 

Inexpensive, can easily see inside the tote, and lightweight. Not heavy duty, though, if your evacuation includes trekking through the wilderness.

Diaper bag

The waterproof lining could be very helpful, especially if you have small kids and/or a baby.

Tool box

Not lightweight but could be very useful for protecting fragile items.

Metal bucket with lid

I have this one and it’s definitely a multi-purpose container.

A storage locker, preferably one with wheels

Heavy-duty black trash bags

Be sure to the buy “contractor” bags. These are amazingly resilient, stretch a bit as you stuff more into them, and are very cheap. They would be useful for packing soft things like bedding, clothing, and sleeping bags.

A messenger bag with shoulder strap 

Anything with a shoulder strap will leave both hands free and might be easier to carry than a backpack for someone with back problems.

A fisherman or photo vest 

Obviously this won’t carry as much as these other containers, but with all the multiple pockets, you could keep the most essential items close at hand.

When planning for an emergency evacuation, I recommend dividing the contents of your emergency kit into 2 or more different types of containers. For example, a 5-gallon bucket can hold food and cooking supplies and will provide an emergency toilet, a large water container, and a handy tote for firewood. Then use a Space Bag to hold sleeping bags and cold weather clothing and finally a large backpack for everything else. You’ll have 2 multi-purpose containers and a backpack large enough to hold all the essentials in case you have no choice but to continue your evacuation on foot and have to leave the bucket and Space Bag behind.

When choosing your containers, keep in mind that they might be in for a pretty rugged future. Look for:

  • Extremely durable fabrics
  • Sturdy construction
  • Heavy-duty zippers, snaps, or other closures
  • Colors that blend in
  • Non-tactical appearance. This may cause you to look too prepared and a potential target.
  • Tight fitting lids

Also keep in mind the different ages and physical capabilities of your family members. Even young kids can carry small backpacks, easing the load for parents and teens.

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Survival Lessons for Students from Sesame Street http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-lessons-for-students-from-sesame-street/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-lessons-for-students-from-sesame-street/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 08:01:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19661 Prepare even the youngest kiddos for common emergencies with online tools and resources! Rather than mom-to-mom wisdom, I’m sharing a compiled list of online tools and resources you can use to help you prepare your little ones mentally and physically Read More

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sesame streetPrepare even the youngest kiddos for common emergencies with online tools and resources!

Rather than mom-to-mom wisdom, I’m sharing a compiled list of online tools and resources you can use to help you prepare your little ones mentally and physically for emergencies they may encounter—even if you aren’t there to help. One great resources for a wide variety of ages is the Red Cross’ “Masters of Disaster” program for grades K-8. Some of these are even great for homeschooling!

So choose an age group and get started on your survival lessons for students!

Ages 2-6

Sesame Street has a great episode including several quick videos about being prepared for emergencies. The videos are in the context of “Fairy Tale Emergencies” and can spark conversations without scaring little ones.

The tool kit contains even more videos explaining what “being prepared” means, what constitutes an emergency, and basic information for this age group.

Fire Safety activities, printables, and planning ideas from Sparky the Fire Dog are perfect!

Ages 7-10

New York City officials have put together some interesting “Choose your Own” stories for emergencies like power outages, heavy snow, hurricanes, and heat waves that are interactive and informative.  One word of caution: because it’s a New York City, government-produced resource, it advises kids to do things like go to the designated shelter or cooling center. Discuss whether this is something you really want your kids to before they visit the site, and discuss your preferred alternatives, as well as whether designated centers are even an option. These PDF files are printable.

Ready.gov has created some activities by school-age groups, as well.  There’s a lot of educational jargon and waaaay more political justification than you need to actually implement the activities, but you can access those lesson plans here.

Go Bag for Kids has some cute animated videos about surviving earthquakes and tsunamis.  Scroll all the way down to find the embedded videos.

Florida’s Division of Emergency has some great online games—including building a virtual emergency kit that you can later print out—at Kids Get a Plan.

I also liked the printable checklists your kids can print and either compare against their own kits and go-bags or build themselves from the CDC website.

A printable, interactive Disney workbook includes activities and ideas for kids. It was developed with the Red Cross for Disaster Preparedness Month and addresses major and minor weather events.

Ages 11-14

Have kids check out the map from Ready.gov to learn more about recent large-scale events or disasters in each state, and which ones are most likely to happen. Your older kids can click on their state and get recent emergency-related headlines with real pictures, explore the most common weather events in your state, and get tips for what to do before, during, and after these types of emergencies.  If your kids stay the night with friends or spend time away from home, this is a great way to empower them to be more self-reliant.

A fun, interactive game from PBS kids gives scenarios of things that might happen when parents aren’t home.  They score points by making responsible decisions and following mom’s written instructions. My kids loved this one.

Ages 15+

If your teens are not in Scouting, consider having them take a CPR training course at your local YMCA or Red Cross. I liked this video of teenagers practicing their CPR/lifeguard training.

Additionally, the CDC has put together a story about a pandemic that is in comic book or “graphic novel” form. Curiously, the virus makes people zombies, so it’s geared toward older kids. They have to hunker down until their food runs out, then they worry about how much gas is in the car to get help.

Florida’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has its full teen workbook online for PDF download and can be useful for disasters in many regions.

Survival Lessons for Kids – Remember to Follow Up

As with any lesson, talk with you kiddos about the activities and use them as a springboard for conversation and/or modifying your own emergency preparedness plans.  Feel free to add your favorite ideas and links in the comments below. And for a complete scope and sequence of kids’ preparedness, click this link. Happing prepping!

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Sex after the apocalypse? When there is no birth control … http://thesurvivalmom.com/sex-apocalypse-no-birth-control/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/sex-apocalypse-no-birth-control/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:00:07 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19612 So, you think you have everything that you need in your preps? Think about this … After the apocalypse (or whatever scenario happens) and things settle, you might start getting comfortable with your food, water, and security. Then, you might Read More

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nfp

So, you think you have everything that you need in your preps? Think about this …

After the apocalypse (or whatever scenario happens) and things settle, you might start getting comfortable with your food, water, and security. Then, you might start thinking about cuddling up together in the evenings … but wait – your birth control method is gone and it’s not like you can run to the drugstore.

Yes, there is one sure-fire way to avoid a pregnancy, but years of abstinence when you have no birth control could be very boring.

And there are potential scenarios where getting pregnant would not be ideal – radioactivity, a police state, low food supply – but even a bad economy can make couples not want to have a baby to support right then.

No Birth Control? Try Natural Family Planning

That’s where a book (Taking Charge of Your Fertility), a chart, and a basal thermometer might come in handy. Even if you choose not to learn about the science of fertility right now, having these three items among your preps gives you the chance to learn about it later.

This article is not going to go into the nitty-gritty details of how to use natural family planning (NFP), but will try to convince you to start learning about it. There are many methods out there and it’s worth finding out which one is right for you. (These include symptom-thermal, ovulation, Billings, Creighton, and Marquette.)

Here are several reasons you should start learning about natural family planning:

  1. Enjoy married life after …

This very personal reason needs no further explanation.

  1. Nothing to buy

If you were not able to refill your birth control prescription or buy any other birth control methods, you could use a NFP method instead.

  1. Learn the science of fertility

If knowledge is power, knowing the science of fertility would give you a lot of power in your own life.

  1. Practice makes perfect

It takes some time to get any NFP method down pat and the sooner you learn about it, the sooner you can feel comfortable with it.

  1. Marketable skill

Once you learn how to use one or more NFP methods, you can teach others.

Resources

Here are some links to some resources (some are religious in nature, but they have good information):

Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Creighton Model

Marquette Model

Couple to Couple League

Natural Family Planning International

What do you think? Are you convinced that it is worth learning about natural family planning now, while you still have other (back-up) options available?

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Food Storage just isn’t for me! http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-just-isnt/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-just-isnt/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 08:00:47 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19634 I realize that I may be preaching to the choir here but then again, maybe not. Perhaps there are a few among the readers of this blog that will make a change because of it. Like most of us, I am not a Read More

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Some people say food storage just isn't for them, but here are some reasons to reconsider that and start preparing your family. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comI realize that I may be preaching to the choir here but then again, maybe not. Perhaps there are a few among the readers of this blog that will make a change because of it.

Like most of us, I am not a one-trick wonder. We all wear lots of hats. (Hey, a good string of cliches on a weekday morning gets them out of my system; don’t judge.) One of the hats I wear is EMT. This past week I wore that hat to attend a 3 day EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Conference. Attendees were from at least 14 states.

Some things I learned from the Conference

We were taught and entertained by some amazing people who have ‘walked the walk’. They have lived what they teach. Of the 12-15 classes I attended, three stood out as exceptional. Two of those were so great that I felt compelled to reach out through Thank You notes I handed them on Day Two. One replied and granted me an interview for a post I wanted to write.

The next day, we talked about my article topic for about 30 minutes. This man was the Incident Commander in charge of all immediate medical response efforts during the 48 hours immediately following a major Natural Disaster in the Midwest a few years ago. He saw devastation, destruction and death far beyond what our eyes should ever see. In his presentation, he shared lessons they learned while responding to this disaster.

I had to consciously keep myself from letting my jaw hit the floor when, in the course of our conversation he stated, “You know, I don’t really feel the need to store any food, there’s enough stores in our area and the surrounding areas that it isn’t a problem.” I asked how much he had on hand for his family and his answer is what stunned me. “Oh, we’ve got 2-3 days worth.” A man with a front row seat to one of the decade’s major natural disasters says he doesn’t see the need to store more than 2-3 days worth of food in his home. This floored me.

I expect that people who have regular, non-emergency-services jobs might feel this way until they are taught why they should care about food storage, but this sentiment coming from him surprised me.

If he can’t answer the following question, how can we convince other people who haven’t seen disasters first-hand?

Why might you want to consider starting to build up the food storage for your family?

Why I Disagree

So for a minute or two I just want to share several scenarios that might make you want to rethink your strategy,  if you don’t already have food storage.

1.    Buffalo, New York –  7 feet of snow. Can you get to the store in 7 feet of snow? Do you even want to try?

2.    Ferguson, Missouri – Violence, Looting, general civil unrest. Is your favorite grocery store even still there, or is it a pile of smoldering ashes on the ground? If it is still standing, do you want to risk your safety for a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and some Oreos? Did you have to think twice about the Oreos? I won’t say if I did, but I digress.

3.    Frigid cold temps across much of the country – Will the car even start to get to the store? Can you find your car under all that snow? I vote instead for a nice cup of hot chocolate, a warm fire a pot of cream of something soup simmering on the stove and a great book to cuddle up with instead of venturing out in that frostbiting weather.

4.    Family-related expenses. A teenager in a hood-crumpling car crash, and the car has liability-only insurance – Guess where the food budget is going instead of the grocery store?

5.    Unexpected car repair. Since ours are all paid for older cars, I count these as my ‘car payments’  but they don’t come at regular intervals and again, the food budget is my slush fund for things like this.

6.    Health problems. In our case, knee surgery for one child, an ER visit and 4 days in the hospital for another, and kidney stone for the dad…all in the same month.

These are just a few of the ‘emergencies’ that can keep you from being able to get food and other supplies for your family. We might not have any experiences with any of these…and to that I say, thank goodness! But that doesn’t mean they won’t happen in the future. Only one gave any real warning.

Why You Should Just Get Started

Food Storage IS NOT HARD. Yet, so many just won’t even ‘go there,’ for whatever reason.  The rest of this article is for those ‘not in the choir’, the ones who haven’t ever thought about needing a supply of food in their home.

There is no perfect food storage program, but there are many that are super organized and tell you exactly what to buy, including a schedule.

Honestly, the best food storage program around is the one that works for your family, the one that increases the amount of food you have in your pantry. Please JUST START. Just buy an extra can or case of Ready to Eat Soup or Just add water muffins or Macaroni. Do that EVERY TIME you go to the store. Before long you’ll be shopping out of your cupboards instead of running to the store every few days. When that happens, you can increase your shopping interval and buy things by the case when they are on sale rather than 1 can at a time at full price. Pretty soon you’ll be able to prepare a meal for your family from what is in the pantry and you’ll only need to go to the store for fresh things.

Dave Ramsey is a financial guru, I totally recommend his teachings. One of the things he talks about is that women, in particular, have a ‘Security Gland’. If we don’t have an Emergency Fund, we get ugly. I’m here to tell you that although an Emergency Fund is super important, having an Emergency Food Fund is equally, if not MORE. important to that sense of Security.

The last three ‘Emergencies’ listed above were my personal ones and they all happened in one period of 30-ish days. Please share the emergencies you’ve had where you wished you had some food on hand, or were grateful you did.

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Product Review – The GNS Knife by LT Wright Knives http://thesurvivalmom.com/product-review-gns-knife-lt-wright-knives/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/product-review-gns-knife-lt-wright-knives/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 08:00:41 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19621 I will admit I can be something of a blade snob. The way I look at it, any gear I buy for the purpose of keeping me alive had better be of the highest quality I can afford. Therefore, I Read More

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GNS REVIEW 800 800I will admit I can be something of a blade snob. The way I look at it, any gear I buy for the purpose of keeping me alive had better be of the highest quality I can afford. Therefore, I tend to shy away from dollar stores and the like when it comes to purchasing most of my survival supplies. Sure, a can of beans is a can of beans, whether you pay a quarter or a buck for it. But, for tools in particular, I don’t want cheaply made Chinese lookalikes that are just as apt to fall apart in my hands as they are to do even a mediocre job.

The GNS Knife is a production knife made by LT Wright Knives. A production knife is one that isn’t truly custom, yet is typically handmade or hand assembled rather than built on some sort of automated assembly line. Yes, a production knife is typically more expensive than something you’d buy in a blister pack at Walmart. But, you usually get what you pay for, whether we’re talking a blue light special or a high end blade.

GNS stands for “Go, No Show.” In other words, this is a knife made to be used and abused rather than just looking pretty on a shelf or in a display cabinet. From the moment you pick it up, you’ll be looking to put it to work.

The blade is fashioned from 01 tool steel. It runs 4.5″ in length and is a robust 1/8″ thick. As with most high quality knives, it has a full tang. This means the steel runs from the tip of the blade all the way through to the butt end of the handle, all in one piece. The edge of the GNS blade is a Scandi grind, which makes for a very sharp edge that is easily maintained.

The handle scales are attached both mechanically via rivets as well as chemically with an adhesive. I have little doubt the scales are going to last just as long as the blade. At the butt end is a hole for attaching a lanyard, should you desire one.

The handle is thick, filling my hand completely. The knife is very comfortable to hold in any number of positions, whether you’re batoning firewood or carving a bow drill.

Something I really appreciate about the GNS is the leather sheath. In my experience, sometimes the sheath is seen as an afterthought. You can buy a truly excellent knife and the sheath turns out to be very thin. That’s not the case here. The GNS sheath is fashioned from thick leather, complete with a loop on the side to carry a ferro rod (not included).   The stitching is strong and well done, making the sheath as good looking as it is functional.

knife 1It also has a sheath dangler attached, which is great. Personally, I prefer to carry my belt knives using a dangler as then the knife doesn’t ride up against my waist when I sit or crouch. The sheath also has a standard belt loop, should you not want to use the dangler.

I have owned my GNS Knife for several months now. I have used it for all manner of typical camp tasks and it has never failed to meet the job head on. The GNS sells for about $155.00 here on the LT Wright website. Yes, that’s a lot of money for a knife. But, I’ll tell you something. It just may be the last knife you need to buy.

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