Preps to Look for Each Time You Go Shopping.

I have my long term goals for preparedness items.  These preps include  expensive stuff I’m  saving up for. Preps that will take time for me to reach my goals on, like freeze dried foods.  Then I have the preps that I look for  as good deal on  each time I go to the store.  Preps I wind up making my way through quickly, or want to make sure are as fresh as possible, or might have an extra few bucks to purchase that month.

Canning jars and lids.  About now I’ve used every single canning lid I owned putting up the latest season’s garden goodness.  Purchasing a few hundred canning lids at once isn’t going to fit the budget, so from now until I’m restocked, I’ll pick up a box or two of wide mouth canning jars.  Maybe it’s time to check out the reusable Tattler lids!

Matches, lighters, stuff to start a fire.  I have this fear, in the back of my mind, that I’ll have every prep known to man…….but I won’t be able to start a fire.  Hey.  We all have our weird.

Over the counter medication.  It may be aspirin, AlkaSeltzer, cold medication, or something else.   This helps make sure I’m not only well stocked, but things stay rotated as too.

Preps

Something First Aid.  BandagesAntiseptic Cream.  Coban. Boxes of surgical gloves.  Sterile guaze.  Butterfly strips.  Trauma scissorsMedical reference books.  Fish Antibiotics.  Travel Wipes.

Socks

Bottled Water.   Cause, seriously.

Toilet Paper

Crisco.  The three brick pack to be specific.  No, it’s not the cheapest way to procure the stuff.  *blush*  HOWEVER, I fill a half gallon canning jar up with the pricey little gems, vacuum seal it, and it lasts WAY longer than the cans of Crisco last on my shelves.  And while I’ve read can burn (even rancid) cans of Crisco in an emergency for light, I’d rather not.  Shoot me.

Flashlights and light sticks

Batteries

Maps of your area.

Compass

Sewing supplies.  Needles.  Thread.  ElasticItems to make  repairs with, and items to create new products too. 

Baggies and Garbage Bags

During the year, I’ll switch things up.  If I’ve met my goal in one area, I’ll replace that with a new one.    None of these things are expensive and there’s always something from each category on sale.  You’ll list of things will look different from mine, as we each work to meet the needs of our families.

It really IS possible to prep SIMPLY and a little bit at a time.

*Affiliate Links have been added to this post. 

Renegade Survivalists

It seems as though one’s dedication to prepping is directly proportional to how far out in the boonies one is willing to hide themselves away.  You can’t reach the gold star level of prepping until you’ve removed yourself from a city setting and relocated to an area that is a few warm bodies short of being a  ghost town.  With a medically fragile son, our family will never be able to pack up our wagons and head into the final frontiers of Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana.   We’re adapting in place.  Suburban homesteaders that, if necessary, could put our son in his adaptive wheelchair and transport him on foot to the nearest medical center.  We’re renegade survivalists.

Where I live there a belief in a  ‘Call Out.’  A large group of people  believe that one morning there will be a knock at their door telling them to load up their go bags, foam clothing, white tents, cook stoves, water storage, medic bags, and  years of vittles, into  their trailers and follow the buses up the mountains where they will be hidden from the armies invading from the East and West.

Renegade Survivalists

Nope.  Our family of Renegade Survivalists are working on creating a bug in plan.   We’ll continue to pay off our debt while working to prepare for a variety of emergencies.  But we won’t do it alone.  We’ll do it within a community of like minded neighbors will also be bugging in.  Neighbors that will watch each others backs.  Friends that believe in prepping for a few extra that might not have had the opportunities to prep for themselves.  I’m fortunate to live in a community that has been taught the importance of being ready for the unexpected.

Each Wednesday I meet with a neighbor and  sweet friend,  to work together to build our food storage and other items of self reliance.   We’ve calendared out our year month by month by topic starting with our greatest needs.  We work independently during the week, then meet again to compare progress, go on purchasing trips, and encourage each other to keep going.  We help each other prepare bulk purchases for long term storage.  We run through possible scenarios and bounce ideas off of each other.

My married kids, and parents all live close.  We have our plans in place for what to do if the SHTF at a time that everyone is at work.  My parents have everything at their home that Parker would need during a long emergency.  They are also Renegade Survivalists.

When I read about WWII what stands out to me is that there wasn’t just one way families survived.  There were many individuals through their own ingenuity made survived the war.   Making use of what they had available and relying, if needed, on trusted family and friends, they were able to hold on and find themselves still alive when the war ended.

Interestingly, as I’ve read stories of survival within concentration camps during World War II, the survivors talk about the importance of community in keeping them alive.  Others that had their backs.  Networking.  Sharing.  Yup, even within the hell that was Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Buchenwald, community often meant the difference between life and death.

Not everyone will be able to bug out. Not everyone can simply put together an off grid utopia where no other man dare venture.  In the boonies, with no other support systems, means that you must be able to do it all by yourself.    This is why being prepared to hunker down in a home is not only an important, but viable option as well.

What are your plans for a SHTF situation?

Food Freedom

Food Freedom.  There is a growing movement by farmers and consumers in Utah that believes people should be able to buy and sell their foods freely.  I agree.   Especially as Michigan’s residents just lost the right to  keep chickens, bees and small animals.  Anyone else notice a theme with Michigan lately?  Holy cow.

I’ll admit that I’m not often found on the same side of an issue as  the Libertas Institute.  But this is one issue I support fully.

Protect Food Freedom
Image used with permission:  FoodFreedom.org

What does the Food Freedom Act do?

  • Restores your right to buy and sell local foods.
  • Provides greater access to fresh, local, healthy food.
  • Removes all state oversight for direct producer to informed end consumer food sales.
  • Any food may be sold as long as there is only a single transaction between a producer and an informed end consumer (except for meats as described below).
  • Producers must inform the end consumer that the products sold under the Utah Food Freedom Act are not licensed inspect or certified.
  • Raw milk, or any milk products are allowed.
  • Poultry is allowed, all other meats must follow existing laws and regulations.Food FreedomImage used with permission.  Libertas InstituteIf  you live in Utah PLEASE take the time to sign the petition, which will then take you to a link letting you know how to reach your local Representative and Senator to ask them to also support this proposed legislation being sponsored by Representative Marc Roberts.   It takes all of 2 minutes.What is it like in your state in regards to keeping chickens, bees and small animals.  Does it support your right to buy and sell local foods?

How to tell if your baking powder still good.

You are right in the middle of creating a culinary master piece.  Your mouth is watering as you reach for the last ingredient your recipe requires.  In your hand is a container of baking powder, recovered from way in the back of your cupboard.  You wonder when you used this last.  Heck, you wonder when you bought this.  How long does baking powder last, anyway?  All you need is to put dead baking powder in what you are making and have the entire thing flop.

baking powder

You sniff the baking soda.  But what is baking soda supposed to smell like, anyway?   You taste a bit.  That’s didn’t help.  How do you know if baking soda is still good?

Well, lucky for you, Simply Preparing can help!   To find out if your baking powder is still good, simply drop a teaspoon of the stuff into a cup of hot water.  If it bubbles heavily, you are good to go!  If not, it’s time to get a new can of baking powder.

But, you’re in your favorite holey jammie pants and that messy bun of yours is hiding more than just a bad hair day?

We’ve got ya covered.  Here’s a simple replacement recipe:

Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 2 teaspoons cream of tarter.  Ta-da!  Problem solved!

Want to make a big batch and store it?  Just stick to the ratio of 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tarter.  But now you’ll want to add one part of corn starch or arrow root powder too.  The corn starch/arrow root powder will absorb any moisture and keep your new created baking powder from clumping.  Plus, there will be NO aluminum to worry about!

What culinary delights do you use baking powder in?  When was the last time you checked to see if yours was still good?

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar: Sausage Potato Soup

Want to add  Freeze Dried foods to your food storage but have no idea what to do with it?  No time to cook?  Tired of wasting money going through the drive-thru again this week?  Hoping to add some shelf stable, long term, 90-100% of everything in one jar meals to your preps?  I’ve got you covered with our new feature here at Simply Preparing:  Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar .  Today’s offering?  Sausage Potato Soup   Folks, this one will keep ’em coming back for more.

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar

What makes Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar so fantastic?  Imagine coming home too tired to cook, and the family wanting to eat…..NOW.  You boil water.  Dump in the contents of the jar.  Stir.  Viola.  It’s dinner baby.  It’s way healthier than fast food, AND at about $10.00 a jar for a family of 4, CHEAPER too.

You are learning to use your food storage, saving money, creating shelf stable, long lasting in a jar meals for your storage, and making your life easier.

We aim to please, here at Simply Preparing.

Learn to cook with food storage

Let’s get to the recipe, shall we?

Sausage Potato Soup

Bring three quarts of water to a boil.  Add in the jarred ingredients along with the garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper.

Thrive Freeze Dried Ingredients:

1 C. Freeze Dried Sausage
1 C. Dehydrated Potato Chunks
1/3 C. Freeze Dried Sweet Corn
1/4 C. Freeze Dried Onions
1/3 C. Dehydrated Carrot Dices
1/3 C. Freeze Dried Peas
6 TBSP Chicken Bullion

Add from your pantry:

1 tsp garlic powder

1 TBSP Parsley
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
4 TBLS Butter

Garnish with Freeze Dried Shredded Parmesan Cheese

While soup is simmering, make your thickening sauce.  Melt butter in a small pan over a low temperature.  Whisk 1/4  C. flour and allow to cook for a minute, whisking constantly.   Pour in 1 C. (reconstituted) Powdered Milk.  Stir until thick and bubbly.  Add to soup, stir well and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve.

When putting together your Meals in a Jar, you will want to add an oxygen absorber to each jar or vacuum seal each jar.

Do you cook with Freeze Dried foods?  Do you store Freeze Dried foods?

*Original Recipe by Amber Spackman   Modifications by me.
**Photo Credit:  Ladyheart

Water Storage and Flint, Michigan.

Water storage has been on my mind since the state of Michigan’s crisis with safe drinking water that began several months ago.  Flint’s tap water became contaminated with too much lead after the city switched it’s water supply in 2014 to save money while under state financial management.

Ensuring residents have safe water to drink has been a struggle. You can’t boil lead out of water.  People have been told to not drink the water until it has been determined to be safe.  Guard members have finally been called in to assist the police and volunteers to hand out bottled water, filters and water testing kits.

Then to really add insult to injury, the residents of Flint are still being required to pay their water bills.  You know, for water that is too dangerous to drink.  Think toxic waste dangerous.  Swell.  All I can say is thank goodness for celebrities.

I keep thinking of how much less stressful things might have been if residents would have had a supply of water storage instead of having to scramble and depend on the government.  As a matter of fact, it’s being reported that Michigan officials knew last year that Flint’s water might be poisoned, but chose to keep that possibility to themselves.  Sweet, eh?   The FDA is conduction a full review of the situation.

water storage

I’ve written about emergency water storage on the blog and Barb created this information filled post to help you calculate your family’s water storage needs.  It’s a good time to review both posts.

Here are a few more things to consider when storing water.

*Don’t use empty milk jugs for water storage.  The plastic is too thin and will break down within a few months.  Bacteria from the milk can become lodged in the plastic of the jug and then transferred to your water.

*Do not store your water near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or similar substances.

*If you have a pool, you have water you have water for cleaning and bathing, but NOT for drinking.  While pool water has been chlorinated, it most likely has other chemical in it that are not safe for drinking.

*Properly stored water does NOT go bad. However, it may taste funky.  To solve this issue, just pour the water from one container to another several times, back and forth.  Or store things such as Kool-Aide, lemon or lime juice, to help with the taste of your water.
The time to prepare for an emergency is now.  Not after things fall apart.   Do your research.  Make your plan.  When you are prepared you don’t have to worry about any crisis down the road.

How is your water storage coming along?   What techniques work best for you when storing water?

Photo credit: rakerman via VisualHunt / CC BY

How to make goat milk yogurt.

My son, Parker, follows the SCD diet for his ulcerative colitis.  This diet calls for yogurt.  Goat milk yogurt is our yogurt of choice.   Either powdered goats milk or fresh goats milk will work just fine.  This recipe also works for cow’s milk.   It’s important to know you can replicate any foods required for a special diet when the shtf, in one of it’s many forms.  

goat milk for goat milk yogurt
It’s actually a pretty simple process.   I used a gallon and a half of fresh goat milk and put it into a a clean pot, allowing it to slowly warm up to 180 degrees.  Make you that when you check the temperature you stir the milk so that you get an overall reading.  You’ll want to keep the milk at 180 degrees for at least 2 minutes.

Next, take the your pot of milk off the hot burner and onto a cool one.   I often just place the entire pot into a sink of ice water to hurry the cooling process.  You want to let your milk cool to 100 degrees.

Once you milk has cooled to 100 degrees, pour a bit out into another container.    Add your yogurt ‘start’ to that small bit, stirring to make sure there are no lumps.  Then pour your newly mixed ‘start’ into the large pan and stir some more.  You want to make sure the starter and milk are well mixed.

cooking thermometerHeat your milk to 180 for at least 2 minutes and then allow it to cool to 100 degrees.

I used about 1/4 of a cup of yogurt starter.  What is a yogurt starter?  It’s simply a bit of yogurt I’ve saved back from my previous batch of goat milk yogurt.

goat milk yogurt start

Is this your first batch of yogurt?  No worries.  You can purchase a container of plain goat milk yogurt and use that.  OR you can use the packaged yogurt starter.    Simply follow the directions on the package.

Next  I poured the soon to be yogurt into clean half gallon mason jars.  We use a LOT of goat milk yogurt so I tend to make a lot at a time.   Feel free to start with a smaller amount!

Next I screw on the tops and rings and place each half gallon into my Excalibur dehydrator.  Yup.  You can make yogurt in the Excalibur.  Sweet, eh?

I keep my yogurt fermenting at about 100-115 degrees for at least 24 hours.   After the 24 hours have passed, I put the yogurt into the fridge to chill for about 24 hours.

What?  You don’t own an Excalibur?  Worry not.  You can use a yogurt maker, or even put your covered pot of milk and starter into the oven and use the oven light as a heat source.  Or how about using your crockpot?

Do you have someone on a special diet the likes of which you will need to replicate in case of a time of crisis?

Why You Should Store Food NOW.

I’ve had people ask me why they should store food now rather than waiting to see if a crisis event takes place.    Many would rather have their money earning interest in a bank so that if the s-ever does hit the fan, they have the finances to deal with their new normal.  Having a stash of cash is important in an emergency situation.  However, I believe that the time to get your tangibles is before the crisis, not after.  There really are times when food is more valuable than money.

Store Food

 

How do I come to this conclusion?

* You can’t eat money.  In times of crisis, store shelves will be wiped out in the blink of an eye.  It won’t matter how much money you have on hand if there’s nothing around to purchase.

* Items from your food storage will be highly valued barter items.  Cash stands a huge chance of being devalued to the point of worthlessness.

* Food prices are only going up.  And up.  And after that, they’ll go up some more.   When you store food now, using a variety of techniques, it’s like money in the bank that is actually earning interest in the form of  being exempt from rising food costs.

* A one dollar package of humble garden seeds will increase the value of that buck 20x in the form of fresh veggies, compared to vegetables purchased at a grocery store.  Where else can you increase the value of that greenback in such a dramatic way within one mere growing season?

Nobody can control the economy.  But we can control how it affects our lives.  Storing food is one way to prepare for what ever uncertainties the future may hold.

Do your store food in case of emergency?

*Photo Credit:  Visual Hunt

Grocery Store Prepping

Christmas sales are everywhere.  You can’t turn on the television, listen to the radio or check your email without getting notification of a new and never been seen before kind of sale.  Do you think of looking for sales at your local grocery store?  Yep, prepping at the grocery store this time of year can turn up money saving deals of the very best kind for your food storage needs and beyond.

This week at my local Kroger/Smith’s I’ll be stocking up on Duracell batteries for .29 cents a two pack.  That’s less than .15 cents a battery before coupon and tax.  Thank you very much.  As a simple prepper, my stash of batteries can never be too big.

Next up, sugar!  After coupon a 4 pound bag of C&H sugar .59 cents.  A pound of sugar for .15 cents before tax and coupon?  Ba-zinga!   To store these, grab yourself a Rubbermaid tote and you are good to go.  Of course, a metal barrel would be perfect, but tote will work in my area of the country.

Grocery Store Prepping

Tide Pods.  $1.49 before tax and coupon.  Yes, I could make my own.  Alas, I’ve yet to find a recipe that I love enough to use long term.  Then time is of the essence around here most days as well.  If I can get the good stuff for cheap, I do.   If I remember correctly, at this price I’m paying about a dime a load.

Stayfree Maxi Pads.  A large package for .29 cents after coupon. Not just for personal hygiene either.  Think first aid and staunching blood flow.   Many are going to reusable feminine hygiene products, but disposable still has it’s place.

Did you know that Smith’s/Kroger’s doesn’t always list their best deals in their sales flyer?  Nope.  Take a look around in store to find other killer deals.  You don’t have to have coupons to snag holiday prepping cheer in the aisles of your local neighborhood grocery store.

Before you get into your prepping clothes though, let’s review a bit of  Couponing 101.

*Check the expiration date of your coupons.

*Check to see if there are any limits to how many coupons you can use in one shopping trip or per day.

*Check sizes!  Make sure the size of the product in your cart matches the size of product your coupon is for.

You aren’t purchasing coupon when you shop at places such as couponfleamarket.com.  You are paying for the time to source the coupon, cut it out and mail it to you.

Ready to rock and roll!  Perfect!  One final suggestion.  Food banks at this time of year are always in need of groceries and personal hygiene supplies.  With deals this awesome you can prep AND give.

Top 10 Oils For Prepping

If you don’t yet have a stash (or a hoard) of essential oils, now is the time to start stocking up. Things are changing in our ability to access health care and you want to be able to take care of your family in non traditional ways. To that end, here is the top 10 oils for prepping and how to start building your stockpile of essential oils. Unfortunately there are so many things that I am not allowed to share about oils due to regulations. So it is my hope that using what I can say below leads you to peak your curiosity about oils and starts you on your research journey.

top 10 oils for prepping

Thieves Essential Oil

I add 1 drop of Thieves to a cup of warm water as part of my wellness regimen.*

Top 10 Oils for Prepping: Thieves Essential Oil

RC Essential Oil Blend

I diffuse R.C. to create a comforting aroma.

Top 10 Oils for Prepping: RC Essential Oil Blend

Panaway Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Panaway Essential Oils

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is great when used as a dietary supplement to support healthy digestion*. It’s so perfect and convenient to just add 2–3 drops to my water.

Oils for Prepping: Peppermint Essential OIls

Stress Away Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Stress Away Essential Oils

Frankincense

I apply Frankincense topically to help smooth the appearance of healthy-looking skin.

Oils for Prepping: Frankincense essential oil

Copiaba Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Copiaba Essential Oil

Digize Essential Oil Blend

Oils for Prepping: Digize Essential Oil Blend

Lavender Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Lavender Essential Oil

Lemon Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Lemon Essential OIl

All of the above oils are available in Premium Starter Kit that includes a diffuser. While the diffuser is not practical in an emergency situation the oils can all be used on their own and are small enough to pack in your Bug Out Bag, ESPECIALLY the sample sizes. Oils are not inexpensive but when you know how to use them the cost is more than justified in your prepping. Please do not buy “cheap” oils that you find in big box stores or possibly adulterated versions online. This is your family you are investing in.

THE 2015 YOUNG LIVING PREMIUM STARTER KIT CONTAINS:

    • Young Living Diffuser-you get a choice between the Home, Dewdrop Diffuser, Bamboo Diffuser, Raindrop or Aria Diffuser (price ranges but starts at $160-Home diffuser may be substituted for the Dewdrop based on availability). Hint: if you have problems with your hands opening items it may be best to choose one other than the Dewdrop. I have the Home, Bamboo and Aria and I love them all. If you want a basic one to get you started the Dewdrop or Home is a great choice. If you want a beautiful show piece for your home, you are looking for either the Raindrop or Aria.
    • Lavender Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Young Living Thieves Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Copaiba Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Purification Essential Oil 5 ml
    • DiGize Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Peppermint Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Frankinscence Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Young Living Lemon Essential Oil 5 ml
    • R.C. Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Panaway Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Stress Away Essential Oil 5 ml
    • 10 Samples packets of essential oils which are perfect for traveling or your purse!
    • Ningxia Red sample packs so you can taste this Wolfberry blend for yourself.
    • Young Living Product Guide

Get $25 back When You Purchase a Young Living Premium Starter Kit

Because I feel so strongly that you need to buy yourself some books or apps for your phone to learn how to really use your oils I will give you a $25 refund via paypal when you buy a kit so you can buy more educational materials or additional oils. All of that information is below. Once you buy your kit, you automatically become a wholesale member which gives you the ability to buy all your oils at 24% off retail.

Additional Oils You May Want To Use Your Refund On:

  • Oregano
  • Tea Tree
  • Manuka
  • Helichrysum
  • Hyssop
  • Myrrh
  • Lemongrass
  • Valor
  • Peace and Calming
  • Cedarwood
  • Deep Relief Roll-on (the roll-on blends are perfect for Bug Out Bags)
  • Breathe Again Roll-on
  • Tranquil Roll-on

young living dewdrop diffuser kit

HOW TO GET A DISCOUNT ON YOUNG LIVING PREMIUM STARTER KIT

If you are ready to buy a Young Living Starter Kit all you have to do is click the button to order your new kit below! Then email me (address in picture above) with your paypal address and I will send you the $25 within 72 hours-easiest Young Living sale ever! You MUST use this button (and buy the kit the same month you sign up) or make sure that my referral information (1926067) is in the boxes as shown:

How to sign up for Young Living

Buy Young Living

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.