About ParkerMama

Tammy is a mom to 6 wonderful kids, including Parker, who came with an extra chromosome! She is passionate about special needs advocacy, living within her means, and preparing for an uncertain future. Tammy's main blog is Praying For Parker. Make sure to visit her there as well!

Why You Need Sillcock Keys in Your Emergency Preparedness Kits

An inexpensive prep,  sillcock keys can be the means to access water in an emergency.  Turning the water off in a building can still leave water  in the pipes.  This hydration could be the factor that allows your family to survive a catastrophic event.  Simply locate the water spigot on a commercial or public building, and use your sillcock key to turn the spigot on.

*this post contains affiliate links

What Is A Sillcock Key?

Why You Should Have Sillcock Keys In Your Emergency Kit

Use Sillcock keys to open water spigots on commercial buildings, at golf courses, ball parks, and other venues where people spend a lot of time.  You can even use them at rest stops with their spigots.

What About Pliers Or A Wrench?

The design of  spigots at industrial or public buildings require  sillcock keys.  An adjustable wrench, or pair of pliers won’t get the job done.

Sillcock Keys

Where To Store Your Sillcock Keys?

The best places to store Sillcock keys are emergency kits and vehicle glove compartments. Add a list of potential places where you can put that sillcock key to work, and you’ll have an invaluable tool at the ready.

Best Kept Secret

The best keep secret in the world of emergency preparedness is the sillcock key.  Cheap enough to purchase a back up to your back up.   This potential life saver should be a part of every family’s survival plan.

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Simple and Effective Ways To Filter And Purify Water

Storing water is only the first step in your emergency water preparedness plan. While we’ve shown you ways to store water for an emergency, you’re going to want to have a way to filter and purify outside drinking sources..

 Filtering and Purifying Water

Filtering and purifying water are two different steps.  Filtering removes things the eye can see from water, such as bugs, twigs and leaves.

Purifying removes things the eyes can’t see, such as germs and bacteria that can not only make you sick, but kill you.

*this post contains affiliate links

How To Filter and Purify Water

 Safe Drinking Water

First filtering potential drinking water and then purifying it is the best practice in order to have safe for your family in an emergency.

There are a lot of ways to accomplish this.  Straining.  Homemade filtering systems.  Bleach.  Pool Shock.  Boiling.

Luckily, there are commercial options available now that make the need to filter and purify water much, much easier.

Bonus:  They don’t cost a fortune!

LifeStraw

Filter and Purify Water With A LifeStraw

Portable and very affordable, you throw a LifeStraw into each family member’s 72 hour kit, and you will have an easy way to both filter up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water and remove:

99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, including E-Coli

99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, including Giardia & Cryptosporidium

Bonus:  No funky after taste, they way you would get by using bleach to purify water.

LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System

Looking to purify water on a larger scale during an emergency?   Take a look at the LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System.  

This system uses a high volume gravity filter to filter and purify 4755 gallons of water.   Ideal for group and family emergency preparedness situation.

Pour the water into the top, and clean water comes out the bottom.  How much easier can it get?

Berkey Water Filters

Filter and Purify Water Long Term With A Berkey

The aftermath of an emergency can leave municipal drinking facilities scrambling to provide clean water.  Just ask any one that has been slammed by hurricanes and flooding.  Even after the taps are turned back on, the water flowing through them can be of questionable quality.

Berkey systems filter both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as  lakes, streams and stagnant ponds.  The Berkey is made to tackle hostile environments where electricity, or treated water isn’t available.  No more having to worry if your tap water is safe to drink.

The Big Berkey

The Big Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites, while reducing harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides.

The Big Berkey system has a storage capacity of about 2.25 gallons (8.5 liters) and will filter approximately  12-15 gallons a day.  It’s the perfect size to keep on a kitchen counter top or by the sink.

Get A Water Filter NOW

Without access to safe drinking water, you have a life span of three days.    Three days.  Yet for the cost of a few lattes, you could provide you family with a simple and effective way to filter water with a LifeStraw.

Don’t wait until an emergency is knocking at your door.  Add a water filter to your emergency kit today.

P.S.

Come and join us!

I have a theory that the reason so many people aren’t prepared for emergencies isn’t that they aren’t concerned, but they simply don’t know where to start, and it’s so easy to become overwhelmed.

Let’s talk not just about what we need in order to be prepared for an uncertain future, but how to use what we have too.

Simply Preparing Deals Group

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Choosing The Best Emergency Face Mask

As I write this post, parts of the country are either flooded or fleeing the path of Hurricane Irma.  Other states, Oregon, Washington and California are on fire.  If there was ever a time to begin preparing your family for an emergency, now has to be it.  One item that should be in every family’s preparedness kit is an emergency face mask.

*this post contains affiliate links

Which Type Of Emergency Face Mask Should You Buy?

Let’s run through the different types of emergency face masks and their best uses.

The lowest level of protection is the humble dust mask.   Inexpensive.  Disposable.  It’s the sort of mask you would need to protect against pollen, household dust, cut grass.  It is NOT NIOSH approved protection.  It’s really not going to offer much protection, and the only reason I mention it here is to help you tell the difference between this and a particulate respirator mask.

How To Choose An Emergency Face Mask

N95 Emergency Face Masks

A better choice for an emergency face mask is a particulate respirator, an N95 or above.  These are the types of masks suggested a few years back when the Swine Flu and Influenza were such concerns.  These filter 95% of 0.3 micron sized particles.

Particulate respirator face masks conform a bit better to your face, unless you have a  beard.   These masks give you more protection from microscopic particles in the air.

The N95 masks can be found with ‘cool flow valves’ that help to reduce heat build up, moisture, and fogging, all of which help to make breathing while wearing this mask easier.

N95 masks are NIOSH certified, which means the respirator has passed stringent government performance standards including filtration efficiency testing and provides at least 95% filtration efficiency solid and liquid particles that do not contain oil.

The N95 masks have been a popular choice for protection from the smoke from fires, city pollution, viruses (H1N1, etc.) and allergies.

N99 Emergency Face Masks

Newer on the market are masks like the Cambridge Mask, which is a N99 mask.  More expensive, but reusable, Cambridge Masks provide protection against gases, smells, all PM; PM2.5, PM0.3, pollen, smoke and pathogens such as viruses (99.6%)  and  bacteria (99.77%).

As per the Cambridge literature:

The filters used in the Cambridge Mask meet the N99 standard (higher than N95)This is a US Government specification for pollution masks. Cambridge Masks have been independently tested by Nelson Labs, USA which confirmed almost 100% of particulate pollution, bacteria and viruses were successfully filtered when tested. We have also tested to meet the standards for Chinese NK-95 and Korean Food and Drug Administration requirements. The masks use a triple-layer filter system which will protect from a range of airborne contaminants.

Please, check the specs on ANY emergency face mask purchase you make.

 

 

PRO TIP: Remember viruses are transferred not only by touch, through a sneeze, these bugs can also enter through your eyes.  Good hand washing and keeping your hands away from your face is important.

Choosing an emergency face mask.

Should You Buy A Respirator?

Next up, Respirators.  These provide at least 95% filter efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols as well as some organic vapors.  It will filter pesticides and some viruses too.   Basically, you get a much better seal with this type of face masks, which offers better protection.  If you want to amp up this protection add a pair of safety goggles.

Respirators work well for those with serious breathing problems, allergies, and a need to be protected from bad smells.  Think of it as a really jacked up version of the paper N95 masks that can also filter out strong odors.

PRO TIP:  At around $30.00 a pop, respirators are a great choice for protection.  But make sure you pay attention to the SIZES they come in, usually Small, Medium, and Large.   The effectiveness of any face mask depends on how well it fits.

Full Facepiece Respirators provide a good seal around your face, AND protect your eyes.  More expensive, but if this is a big concern for you, worth every penny.

What Face Mask Should You Choose For Mold Removal?

Let’s face it.  In the aftermath of a hurricane, a lot of people are going to be dealing with a lot of mold.  You are going to need a Mold Remediation Respirator kit.
Mold is nasty stuff.  Don’t try to use a paper face mask or simple respirator for this job.

What About Gas Masks?

This really isn’t as outlandish as it may seem, considering today’s world events.  Living in a state with an Army Depot that stores old chemical warfare goodies, I can see the value of these.   Again, it’s all about your personal circumstances.  The Israeli Gas Masks also run in the $30-40 dollar range.

Pro Tip:  Regardless of which face mask you choose, wearing them is a bit of a learning curve.  They are uncomfortable.  They can look scary on, especially for children.   Take some time and practice wearing your masks BEFORE an emergency.

What face masks have you used?  Which ones do you like the best?  Which ones would you not buy again?

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Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

March is Frozen Food Month and frozen vegetables will be on sale at stock up prices.  Now is the time to learn how easy dehydrating frozen vegetables is!

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Why You Should Be Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

    • Unless you have a really big garden, dehydrating frozen vegetables is much cheaper than buying fresh, and you can dehydrate frozen vegetables year round.
    • Dehydrating frozen vegetables requires no washing, peeling, slicing, chopping, or blanching,  saving you a lot of time.
    • Needs less room (much less!) for storage!Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

*this post contains affiliate links

 

Dehydrators

I use an Excalibur Dehydrator, and love it.  I also own a Nesco dehydrator, which is much cheaper and works really well for dehydrating frozen vegetables.   You can quickly and easily recoup  the cost of both of these dehydrators in just a few months of dehydrating your own fruits and veggies.

Dehydrators can often be found at yard sales, but so far the ones I have come across are usually missing most of the trays, or the trays and sometimes the motors are so covered in hardened gunk, that I pass them up.  But keep your eyes open for dehydrators at yard sales and thrift shops, as your luck may be better than mine!

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

How To Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables

Simply spread out the mixed veggies on the dehydrator trays. I didn’t worry that the pieces were touching, I knew they would shrink as they dried and it wouldn’t be an issue. As a matter of fact, my one POUND bag of veggies shrunk down to 3/4 of a cup!

I dehydrated these @125 degrees and they took about 10 hours. Please look at your dehydrator model to see what temperature is correct for your machine. The time to dehydrate will always depend on the humidity in the room where you are dehydrating.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Storing Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables

Now that you have a batch of inexpensive dehydrated frozen vegetables, you’ll need to store them properly. Here’s where a Food Saver comes in so handy!

My favorite way to store my dehydrated vegetables is to pour them into a wide mouth canning jar, and using the mason jar sealer accessory, vacuum seal the jar. You won’t need a ring for this, the vacuum sealing will securely keep the lid on.

Vacuum Sealing Mason Jars

The wide mouth vacuum accessory from Food Saver makes it so easy to vaccum seal items in wide mouth mason jars!

This method will keep your dehydrated goodness fresh for at least a year. It’s always a good idea to check your lid seals every six months or so, to make sure it’s still up to snuff. Simply press on the middle of the lid, if the lid gives and makes a popping sound, you seal is no longer good.

If you would like to add a little more ‘insurance’ this storage method, you can add an oxygen absorber to your jar before you vacuum seal it. I do this quite often.

Tip:  If you would like a bit more in depth description of how to use a Food Saver to vacuum seal canning jars, take a look at this video.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

What To Do With Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables

  • Add a handful or two to soups or stews. Perfect for crockpot cooks!
  • Add some to a blender and turn them into a veggie powder. This powder can then be added to all sorts of things you’d like to up the nutritional value of.
  • Smoothies!
  • Use for camping and hiking trips.

LOVE the idea of having veggies and fruits in your long term food storage as a hedge against inflation and emergencies? We’ve got you covered! Thrive carries a wide variety of freeze dried foods for this very reason!

So, which frozen vegetable will you be dehydrating first?

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Politics and Prepping: The Rising Cost of Produce

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy is an important Prepper skill to develop.  It allows you to prepare in advance for the rising cost of produce items we rely on daily.

Paying For A Wall Between The U.S. and Mexico

Let’s take President Trump’s proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico. You know, the one Mexico is supposedly paying for? The one that for all intents and purposes might really  be paid for by a 20% tax on what American’s import from Mexico?

Now whether you are in favor of a wall or hate the idea, isn’t the issue.

The issue is a potential 20% increase of everything you purchase that crosses that boarder.

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy will give you the opportunity to prepare for rising costs. As President Trump moves forward with building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, rising produce costs are becoming a reality. Make sure your food storage and budget doesn't take a hit with these strategies for prepping against the rising cost of your favorite fruits and vegetables.

What Does The U.S. Import From Mexico?

In 2015 alone, the U.S. imported over $295 BILLION dollars worth of products from Mexico, according to government trade data. From cars to car parts, to electrical machinery and oil.  $2.4 billion worth of apparel.  $1.9 Billion in beer and tequila.

What really has my attention is the amount of of vegetables, fruit and nuts we import from Mexico.  $5.5 billion of vegetables and $3.9 billion of fruit and nuts.  All to potentially be subjected to a %20 price increase.

Bananas and Mangoes

Consider the products we simply can’t grow here such as bananas and mangoes. And then consider what other countries might do to block U.S. exports in retaliation.

And what about the fresh fruits and vegetables we depend on during the winter months? Where do we get a great deal of those? Yup. Mexico.

Can Your Grocery Budget Handle The Increase?

Did I mention the amount of tomatoes and avocados we import from Mexico? 78% of our avocados and 71% of our tomatoes according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  And it not just avocados and tomatoes either.   Herbs, spinach and lettuce make their way across the border to our tables every day.

Finally, according to Forbes, the restaurant industry is already seeing their stocks fall on the fears of increased food costs.

 

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy will give you the opportunity to prepare for rising costs. As President Trump moves forward with building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, rising produce costs are becoming a reality. Make sure your food storage and budget doesn't take a hit with these strategies for prepping against the rising cost of your favorite fruits and vegetables. How To Prepare For The Rising Cost Of Produce

Learn to grow your own.  Now is the perfect time to learn what grows in your area and how to start your own seeds indoors.   Growing your own food helps to tremendously off set the rising cost of produce.

As the season progresses we at Simply Preparing will help walk you through the basics of getting your first garden up and growing!

Learn how to preserve your own food.   It’s easier than you think.  I promise.

Dehydrating.  With just a few simple pieces of equipment you can dehydrate and store fruit and vegetables long term.  One of my favorite resources for dehydrating is the book, Dehydrate2Store by Tammy Gangloff.

Another excellent storage option is to freeze your bounty.   Did you know you can freeze avocados?  Yup! I have a freezer full of frozen avocados for my son’s blenderized diet and my guacamole addiction!

Carolyn Humphries book, How To Freeze Fresh Food At Home is a great book for beginners wanting to learn how to freeze foods.

Prepping With Freeze Dried Food.

Let’s face it.  With or without a wall between us and Mexico, food prices are only going higher and higher.  This is where the real value of freeze dried foods come in.  With up to a 25 year shelf life.  Non-GMO offerings.  Locally sourced whenever possible.

Each can of freeze dried food I purchase today has it’s price frozen as well.  Up to 25 years from now I can open a can of food that I paid 2017 prices for, and allows me to combat the rising cost of produce.  It’s like having money in the bank, but with a much higher interest rate.

It’s also pretty amazing how versatile freeze dried food is.  Take a look at all the produce used in one of my favorite soup recipes, Sausage Potato Soup!  Yum!

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy will give you the opportunity to prepare for rising costs. As President Trump moves forward with building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, rising produce costs are becoming a reality. Make sure your food storage and budget doesn't take a hit with these strategies for prepping against the rising cost of your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Not sure how to use freeze dried foods?  No problem!  You can take a look at the recipes found on my Thrive Website to get some great ideas.

Taking the time to understand what is happening within the White House will insure that your house is prepared to better weather the growing world wide unrest, the consequences of repealing the Dodd-Frank Act and the returning concerns with China’s economy.

Prepping For Basic Emergencies

Prepping for basic emergencies doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  It doesn’t have to be a huge expense.  I work with many people who immediately get that dear in the headlights look when the topic is preparing families for emergencies.

Prepping for basic emergencies can be as easy as taking a trip to your local grocery or big box store.  Or, in this case, simply let your fingers click through the Amazon Affiliate links!

Prepping doesn't have to be stressful or overwhelming. Whether you are a doomsday prepper, or a mom wanting some peace of mind, we have your survival needs covered!

Let There Be Light

Nobody likes to be stuck in the dark.   These items are inexpensive and will make getting through an emergency a much safer experience.

Flashlights

Batteries

Light Sticks (Ultra Bright)

LED Solar Lights

Water.  And More Water.

Water is your friend, boys and girls.  Make sure you have 1 gallon of water per person per day.  More if you are hoping to flush toilets, or brush your teeth.

I’d suggest a LifeStraw water filter that can easily fit into a backpack.

Ready to eat, shelf stable foods.

Quick and easy is the name of the game.  Peanut butter.  Crackers.  Those ready to eat packets of tuna.   Again, things you can pick up a little at a time each time you make a grocery run.

As a BIG fan of Freeze Dried Meals in emergency situations, the Mountain House Just in Case Essential Bucket is one of my favorites.  Unlike many other buckets of this kind, Mountain House has put together a trio that even my kids will eat.   You’ll need a way to heat water to add to these meals.  Don’t forget the matches!

Toilet Paper

You are not going to want to be stuck spraying your sweet patoot clean with a honey bear filled with cold water unless the apocalypse really is in full swing.  Until then stock up on the TP.

After Hurricane Harvey, toilet paper was listed as one of the 6 most sought after items.  Hurricane survivors  underestimated how much toilet paper they needed to make it through the aftermath. Toilet paper is used every day and when it runs out, things can get disgusting……quickly.

 

Magical Miracle Tape

Duct tape is truly the stuff miracles are made of.  In case you need some inspiration check out our post on this glorious product.

Black Contractor Bags

Not garbage bags.  Not leaf bags.  On the box it will state CONTRACTOR bags.  Those are what you want.  Exactly WHAT will you use these for?  Here’s a few ideas:

Ground Cover.
Poncho
Line a 5 gallon bucket with a contractor bag for an emergency potty.
Cover broken or blown out windows after an earthquake.

Here are more ways to use these versatile bags.

Over The Counter Medications and Prescriptions

Aspirins.  Allergy Medication.  Cough Syrup.  Prescription medications.  I have a week’s worth of medications sorted by day in one of these handy little travel pill organizers.  In an emergency you want to make things as simple as possible.

Basic First Aid Kit

Chances are you’re not a doctor, nor do you play one on T.V.  You aren’t going to be performing a tracheotomy or needing to crack someone’s chest to massage their heart.  A basic First Aid Kit will serve you well.

Breathe Easy

There is a good chance that during or after an emergency event the air quality may be less than stellar.

N95 Respiratory Masks will protect you from dust, allergens and other forms of air pollution.

We’ve broken down the respiratory mask code to help you decide which mask will best protect your family.

Odds and Ends

You will need to have some cash on hand, with small bills being best.
Make copies of all important papers and include them in your basic emergency kit.
Include a change of clothes and good, sturdy shoes

Prepping doesn't have to be stressful or overwhelming. Whether you are a doomsday prepper, or a mom wanting some peace of mind, we have your survival needs covered!

Taking Prepping to a Higher Level

Can you take preparedness to a higher level?  Of course!   Most people start with the basics, get the bug, so to say, and then continue to grow their preparedness goals.  The point is that you don’t have to jump onto the Expert Level to make sure your family can make it through a rough time.  And every thing listed above can be purchased either at your grocery store or a big box store, on sale, and often with coupons.

Don’t panic.

Start simply.  Pick up a few items each time you get paid. Sell some of your stuff that you are no longer using, and put that money towards a prepping goal.    Put your foundation in place and then work to meet your personal preparedness goals.

Self sufficiency is a mind set, an every day way of thinking.   It’s a journey to a simpler, less worry filled life.

Where are YOU in your emergency preparedness goals?  How can I help you achieve those goals?

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Make Perfect Stove Popped Popcorn

We are big stove popped popcorn eaters around here.  I pretty much pop a pan a day.  My kids grew up on it.  Cheap and whole grain healthy, with a long term storage life and the added bonus of being quick and easy to make, popcorn is a food storage mainstay.

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

Ingredients for Stove Popped Pop Corn

You’ll need a heavy bottomed 6 quart stock pot with a lid.  This is important.  You don’t want your popcorn to burn.   I find these sorts of pots at thrift stores and yard sales all the time.  They are so versatile.  I have several.

My family prefers a light olive oil.  Or if I’m feeling rich, I use macadamia nut oil.  Grape seed oil works well.  I’ve also used avocado oil and love it.  But since I always have olive oil on hand, it’s usually what gets used.  Some people like to use coconut oil for their stove popped popcorn, but the taste wasn’t a hit at our house.

4 Tablespoons of oil.
1 Cup Popcorn
Sea Salt

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

How To Make Stove Popped Popcorn

Pour 4 Tablespoons of oil into a cold pan.
Next pour in 1 cup of popcorn.
Make sure each kernel is covered in oil. Shake the pan a bit to get so the corn and oil is evenly distributed over the bottom of your pan. Remember, you don’t want your popcorn to be drowning in oil. The oil line shouldn’t be above your popcorn.

I then put the top on my pan, turn up the heat to about a 7, or medium high, and let ‘er rip!

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

To Shake or Not to Shake (The pan that is……)

I use to shake my pan back and forth. But if your heat is high enough and your oil is hot enough all those little pieces of popcorn will pop up without any extra help.

However, if shaking helps you from burning your popcorn, by all means SHAKE! Just keep sliding the pot back and forth over the heat until all of those kernels have turned themselves inside out!

When the popping slows down to just a few pops at a time, it’s done!  Remove it from the burner.

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

 

Salt

I like to add my salt while my popcorn is still very warm. I think it sticks to the popcorn much better. I use sea salt. Unless I’m out. Then I’m stuck with table salt. That always make me a little bit sad.

Here’s the secret to adding salt to your popcorn. STIR/TOSS IT UP. More stirring/tossing than salt. Add a few shakes, stir the bejeebers out of it, taste it to see if you need more salt and repeat IF necessary. There is nothing worse than too much salt on the top of the popcorn and not enough on the bottom.

Viola. That’s it! That’s right, I don’t even add butter. Seriously. It’s divine just the way it is. Food of the gods. I always have people tell me how good it is.  As a matter of fact, people often leave my home with a big plastic cup of the stuff to take on the road with them.

It’s really that good.

Making stove popped popcorn in oil is easy. It's a favorite snack for movie nights. It's a perfect long term storage item for your food storage too!

Toppings for Stove Popped Popcorn

Every Sunday night is popcorn night at our house. It’s been a tradition since my kids were little. As a matter of fact, my married kids keep the tradition alive in their own homes now.

Over the years, we’ve come up with a few ideas to make our humble pots of stove popped popcorn a little more festive. Heck, we’ve been known to jazz up a pot of corn, serve it with a side of carrot sticks and fruit and call it dinner. (ahem)

Here are some of our favorites:

Lightly buttered with freshly grated Asiago cheese.

Lightly drizzled with white truffle oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tossed with salt and dry Ranch seasoning.

Lightly buttered with both sea salt and black pepper.

Sprinkled with Thrive’s Dry Cheese Blend.  (Item #22445)

What is your favorite popcorn topping?

I’m secretly hoping that once you’ve tried making your own stove popped popcorn,  you’ll never go back to the microwaved stuff again.  Try it out for yourself, then come back and tell me what you think!

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Inauguration Violence: How To Stay Safe

Protestors are promising to disrupt many of the events surrounding Donald Trumps’s inauguration.   Some are even promising inauguration violence.  Here are some ideas to help you make it through what potentially could be a stressful few days.

(This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting our site through your purchases!)

Staying Safe in Inauguration Violence

 Inauguration Violence

A group called #DisruptJ20 has an entire agenda planned. 

Then, beginning on Jan. 18th.,  Inauguration Security is focusing on possible threats from the global terror environment.

Not to be outdone, a group calling themselves Refuse Fascism is hoping to incite it’s own brand of civil unrest.

The Washington Post has even created a guide to all of the inauguration protests, just in case you’d like a front row seat to the festivities.

Even more concerning is the undercover video by Project Veritas showing the D.C Anti-fascist Coalition as they talk about plans to disrupt the inauguration by spraying the chemical butyric acid into the ventilation system at the National Press Club during the Deploraball event.

Yes,  folks, these are the times we live in. 

 

Buckle Up.  Things Could Get Dicey Out There

Along with the media, it seems like the fore mentioned groups have their hopes set on fanning the flames of fear.  This serves only to put the focus on mayhem, rather than a peaceful transition of power.

Stay Safe In Big Crowds

How can you stay safe?

  • Be smart and pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Tune in to any changes in the baseline of your current environment.
  • In big crowds it’s okay to be a little paranoid if it helps you to keep your focus on what is happening around you.
  • Keep your phone in your pocket, you attention needs to be on staying safe, not your bff’s latest status update.
  • Stay on the edges of the crowd
  • Have a predesignated meet up place in case you get separated from friends or family.
  • Write important information such as drug allergies, and emergency contact info on your forearm in sharpie.
  • Trust your gut if it tells you to high tail it out of there.

One Step Closer To  Chaos

Hopefully everything will be peaceful this week.  To be safe,  take a look at our check list for making it through a longer term-post election chaos situation you might find yourself in.

To prepare for longer term chaos, you’ll want to make sure gas tanks are topped off, meds are refilled and you have plenty of drinking water on hand!   Take a look at our Chaos Check List and come back and tell me what YOU would add.

Want more information?  I recommend Jim Cobb’s Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide

Duct Tape Hacks for Preppers

Duct tape has become indispensable to Preppers due to it’s uncanny ability to fix just about anything.  Stock up on duck tape and you’ll be prepared for everything from first aid emergencies, to clothing repairs, to finding your way back to base camp.

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Concerned about the bulk and weight of duct tape in your BOB?  Check out this FLAT duct tape!

Survial and emergency preparedness uses for duct tape.  From first aid kits, to camping, to hiking and DIY projects, duct tape has you covered!

Using Duct Tape In Emergency First Aid Situations

Sling for a broken arm:  Fold a long strip of duct tape in half down the middle, so there is no longer a sticky side.  You now have a strip sturdy and flexible enough to use as a sling for a broken arm.

Stabilize a broken leg: Using sturdy sticks as splints, use the duct tape to hold the splints in place.  First, lay sticks on either side of the injured leg. Then hold it all together by wrapping duct tape around the sticks.

Secure a bandage:  Place a sterile dressing over the wound, and strap it in place using duct tape.  This will also create a water proof barrier.  A piece of duct tape can also be fashioned into a butterfly suture.

Make shift mole skin:  Cover the blister and the area around it with a bit of cotton gauze from your first aid kit,  then place a piece of duct tape completely over the cotton gauze.  Make sure that the duct tape doesn’t touch the blister!

Create a Pandemic Seal:  Use duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal a room from the spread of pathogens.

Waterproof your hiking boots using duct tape.

Mend Clothes And Gear With Duct Tape

Repair shoes and clothing:  Who needs a sewing machine?  Did you know this miracle tape come in transparent?

Fix your broken glasses:  We won’t tell the Fashion Police, pinky swear.

Patch up your rain gear:  Duct tape is water proof!    Line the inside of your boots to keep the cold and wet out too!

Keep the creepy crawlies out:  The zipper on your tent busted?  Use duct tape to keep the door to your tent closed.

Have a hole in your sleeping bag?  Duct tape to the rescue!

Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole.   Tape a stick to the broken part of your tent pole or fishing pole.  It won’t be a long term fix, but it should see you through the current need.

Create Emergency Shelter.  By duct taping together a few of your contractor grade garbage bags together you can fashion a simple survival shelter .  You can also tape branches together and then stretch out and duct tape the garbage bags to those to help provide a wind break/simple shelter.

Fix a broken window screen.

Mend a cracked water bottle:   After making sure the outside of your bottle is completely dry then cover the crack with a piece of tape, and then wrapping the tape around the entire width of the bottle.

Get your car back on the road! Duct tape can be used to repair leaking hoses, hold up a bumper, patch the roof, etc.

Cover tears in vinyl siding:   Apply when the siding is dry, making sure to smooth the duct tape down well. You should get at least a season out of this hack.

20 Ways Duct Tape Can Save Your Life

Camping Hacks

Mark a trail:   Need to find your way back from where you came from?   Wrap duct tape around tree trunks along your route.  Just remember to make sure that each tree is in sight of the next one.

Signal for Help:   Make a giant arrow pointing to where you are, or create a giant S.O.S.  Fluorescent colored duct tape or reflective tape would work the best for this.

Use as a fire starter:  Wrap tape around a bundle of dry lint and then cover the outside with char cloth.

Makeshift torch:  Wind the top of a large branch with duct tape and light it up!

survival uses for duct tape

In the comments below, share YOUR favorite ways to  get yourself out of a jam with this wonder tool!

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Surviving Winter Storms: A How To Guide

Snowy and cold has been the forecast for my state this year, with the Northern part of Utah digging out from under 28 inches of the greatest snow on earth,  even as I type.  We are at about 150% of average snow fall here, with more on the way.  This is a big change from the last several years of drought,  prompting me to compile a list of the best posts on Simply Preparing on the topic of  Surviving Winter Storms.

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Surviving Winter Storms Safely

Clothing

I always have to grin when recent transplants from warm weather states realize that they are actually going to need a warm coat to survive winter storms with below zero temperatures.

1.  Learning how to dress in layers for winter weather is a must.

2. Don’t let your body heat escape into thin air.   These behind the head earmuffs are my favorite and don’t make me feel like a five year old when I’m out in the winter weather.    But you may be more of a beanie sort of person.

3.Gloves  You’ll need winter gloves that are warm,  water proof, moisture wicking and will allow you to work out doors too.

4. Winter Boots   I have a pair of KEENS that I adore.  They give my feet the support they need, while keeping them warm too.

5.  Insulated snow pants.  Maybe a pair of thermals to go underneath.

6.  Wool Socks  I remember first thinking that wool socks would be so uncomfortable.  The first thing I think of when I think of wool is rough and scratchy.  Plus, who wants to hand wash wool socks.  Then I found Smartwool.  Soft.  Warm.  Machine washable.  Your goal of surviving winter storms will be much more comfortable when your feet are dry and warm.

The Ultimate Guide To Surving Winter Storms

Surviving Winter Storms Without Electricity.

1. Your chances of losing power during a winter storm are pretty high.  Having a Propane Space Heater will allow you to heat the inside of your home safely.

2.  Firewood.  If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove,  make sure you keep an extra cord of wood available to burn.  You’ll also need a good axe for splitting wood and chopping kindling.

3.  Wool Blankets.   Far superior to cotton or fleece at keeping you warm, wool blankets are a must have for surviving winter storms without electricity.

4. Hand Warmers.  I buy these by the box and stash them everywhere.  Little bits of bliss, I’ll tell ya.

Food

Surviving winter storms requires  you having a stock of non-perishable food items to last for a while.  Granola bars and shelf stable milk for breakfast.  Peanut butter and whole grain crackers.  A can of black beans mixed with a jar of salsa scooped up with tortilla chips.

If you heat with a fire or a wood stove you can heat up canned soups and stews.  In a real pinch, you can even eat these foods straight out of the can.  Just make sure you have a good can opener on hand!

You can also purchase MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) that come with their own single meal use heaters.

Don’t forget the bottled water.  The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.

Sanitation

At the first sign of a winter storm, fill the bathtub up with water to use for flushing toilets. Add the water to the tank so that, if necessary, you can flush.

Another option is to get a box of the black contractor grade garbage bags. Place a bag in your drained toilet. Sprinkle some kitty litter into the bottom of the bag. Every time someone makes a ‘deposit’ into the black bag, add another scoop of kitty litter. You’ll be able to tie the bag securely and then store it outside until your services are restored.

A Guide To Surviving Winter Storms

Let There Be Light

The last thing you want is to be caught in the dark while surviving winter storm. Fortunately there are a lot of lighting options to choose from.

Camping Lanterns

Flashlights    At the price of this top rated Outlite A100, you can afford for each member of your family to have their own light source!

Candles   Don’t forget the matches!

Staying Safe Outside

1.  I’ve seen many people trying to remove snow from their roofs after a snow storm.  Make the job easier and safer with a roof rake.

2.  Ice Melt  Used for porches and sidewalks to keep them free from ice.

3.  Kitty Litter.  Yup.  Plain old non-clumping, non-scoopable, gravel kitty litter will help provide traction under your car’s wheels and down those front steps.  Can’t find this type of kitty litter?  Grab a couple of bags of sand.

4.  Snow Shovel/Pusher.

5.  Snow Scraper with Brush

 

Preparing for any possibility during a winter storm is simple common sense.  Don’t be part of the herd racing out to the grocery store in hopes of grabbing a loaf of bread and a carton of milk before the flurry flies.   Take the fear of of winter storms by being prepared before hand.

What things to you to do to prepare to survive winter storms?

 

Don’t forget to review Simply Preparing’s List of 11 Things To Do Before A Winter Storm!

 

Plan on traveling during the winter months?  We’ve got you covered. Check out our post on   Last Minute Winter Emergency Road Trip List

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