How To Open a Can: Sunday Skill

Today’s Sunday skill is teaching your kids how to open a can with a mechanical can opener. This is another one of those tools where most of us are so used to popping out the electrical can opener that if we have a mechanical one, it is likely buried in the back of your drawer and your kids have no idea what it is. It won’t do much good for you to have a stocked panty if your family cannot get the cans open! Every household should have a minimum of two manual can openers (in case one breaks). I personally have 3 of the ones below and numerous bottle opener types that would just do a V-shaped puncture open. You can pick can openers up super cheap if you keep your eye out for them. IKEA is actually one of my favorite places for picking tools like this up for $1 or $2. They are also commonly found at Goodwill Stores and garage sales for 50 cents.

Manual Can Opener

how to open a can with a manual can opener

I’m going to assume here that most parents are capable of showing their kids how to use one of these but here are instructions with pictures in case you need a refresher course.

 How To Open a Can WITHOUT a Can Opener

But what if you need to open a can and you cannot find a manual can opener? This is a super neat trick I stumbled upon that is a great Sunday Skill for us adults:


If you don’t have a knife, rub it a bit more and you can likely get your fingernail under the lid to pry it open.

How To Open a Bottle of Wine With Your Shoe

And as an added bonus….this is a fun little video on how to open a bottle of wine with your shoe. I haven’t tried it but I can think of a few times I would have been desperate enough to!



Looking for more easy ideas? This link to prepping for kids should help! Is there another skill you would like me to cover? Let me know in the comments! Have a great week.

*I’d like to thank the folks at for pointing out the two videos I included here.

Can Your Children Light A Match? Todays Sunday Skill

How to Light a MatchLast week I wanted to light a sugar cookie candle in the living room. I reached for the disposable candle lighter and it was out of butane. No biggie, I sent the 16 year old downstairs for one of the many boxes of matches stored and asked him to do it for me while I was doing something else. Then I heard something that sent me reeling into a mom failure mode: “Mom, how do you use these things?” My child did not know how to light a match!

Have you taught your kids how to light a match? Good ideas on teaching them here.


WHAT? How does a 16 year old not know how to light a match? But then I thought about it. As a young kid we never let him play with matches, right? And as he did learn to light things for me I always used these candle lighters. No one around us smokes. Where would he really have come in contact with them?

Then a disturbing thought came to me: if the world as we know it ends tomorrow they will find my sons starved carcass in a stocked panty with a mechanical can opener in his hand and his iPhone in the other as he waited for a signal so he could google how to use it. Which is why I am starting off a weekly meme on the blog called Sunday Skills. Today’s lesson was how to light a match.

Different ways to teach your kids how to light a match

We started with the kitchen strike anywhere type. Both boys were impressed to learn you can, indeed, strike them just about anywhere. We had them try different different surfaces and they quickly figured out the best way to do it. Then we moved to small boxes you get from a restaurant (or used to) and then the hardest ones, a matchbook.

We did this outside around our gas fireplace. We took the log’s out and had the gas turned off and we had the kids gather dry grasses and pine needles and wet branches and try to light each of them so they knew what would burn and what won’t. They already understood how to build a fire since my husband cooks with wood quite a bit but since we aren’t a camping family, they have never had to look for things in nature to burn. We discussed how they would build a fire pit outside if they needed to.

Am I wondering how many urban and suburban kids don’t know how to do this simple skill we all grew up with. Do your kids? If not, its Sunday….time to teach them a Simple Skill!

And while you are at it put together this simple pack for your 72 emergency evacuation bags. Old prescription bottles are perfect for storing enough matches for your Bug Out Bag’s.

Keep a supply of matches in your bug out bag


Family Emergency Plan #2: Make a Family Information Form

This is part two of a Family Emergency Plan series written by our contributing writer, Prepper Lush. Make sure to read Family Emergency Plan #1: Talking to Your Family.
Family Information Form as a part of your Family Emergency Plan

Most women I know are list makers. Maybe not actual lists in your purse or laying around the house, but lists in our head, so, I think our head needs more room.

Make a family information form (list of your family).

  • It should include the name of all the family members whom live in the house, phone numbers for each, email address, what school they attend, where they work, A phone number for an out of state contact, where they should meet if they can’t get home.
  • Important information. Bank numbers and codes, life insurance, copies of insurance cards/credit cards, social security numbers, birth certificates and other things your family may need to know if it’s necessary.
  • Up to date photos of each person in the family, defining markings and their locations (this is for those people whom don’t live at home as well, college aged kids, etc)
  • Copies of keys for rooms in the house you may have locked (gun closet, safe combination, etc)
  • Family plan: Ex: If an emergency comes up and I can’t drive home, I’ll be walking; it’ll take me about 2 hours to get home. So the teens know to go and get their siblings from school and go home. Get things to supply the house with light and don’t open the fridge/freezer so it can stay cool if the electricity is out.(Come up with a plan that’ll work for your family)
  • Enough money to get you and your family out of town if you had to.

This whole thing should take about 3 hours to compile, depending on what you have. It might take a few days, just have a goal in mind on when you want it done. Then do it.

After you are done, put it in a plastic bag and in the freezer.


Yes… it’s the most fireproof spot in your house. I thought my husband was silly when he told me that the first time. It’s true, keep your stuff safe, put it in the freezer and check it out again every time you turn your clocks back. Make changes… update.

  • Now… put a mini one in all of your vehicles (sans the SS#, bank account, etc). Just things you might need like, bug out plan, family information, cash, etc.)
  • Take one to work.
  • Give one to a family member/child that’s moved away, etc.
  • Give an instruction book to the child care provider/in kids backpack.

Links to online Family Emergency Plans:


What would you add to your FEP? I’d love to gain more ideas, I hadn’t even thought about cash until a friend of mine brought it up after Sandy hit New York this Oct.

Family Emergency Plan #1: Talking To Your Family About the Plan

This is the first of many articles to come from our contributing writer, Prepper Lush. Please connect with her in the comments and let her know what you think of her article!

 ‘If the electricity went out in your school, then after an hour the school allowed you to go home. What would you do? What if you couldn’t access text/cell phones either?’

Cloudy Skies Over City


I asked my son this question to see what his answer was. I didn’t do it to scare him or to freak him out, but I did ask him because I need to open the line of communication of “What if?” He’s 17 and a senior in high school, so I didn’t have to be as cautious about what I said as if I was speaking with my elementary school kids.

Remember the audience you are speaking to, if you scare someone they won’t hear what you said, they will focus on the fear. The whole reason for asking this is to give them a sense of confidence so if it does happen they know the game plan.

Game plans change.  In 9 months my son will be heading off to college which leaves me with no one to pick up my kids in case of an emergency. I’ll be talking with a neighbor in that case, because she’s home during the day and our kids are in the same class.

I might be working in another location and be closer to home so I could get them, or perhaps it’s an economical shift and one of us is working at home.

Make sure you include your college aged students in these conversations. Where are they supposed to go? How long should they wait before they try to head home, should they? Come up with a way to get them in a safe location that works for you and them.

Change your FEP with each major change in the family. Adding a child, marriage, divorce, baby sitter, job, etc. you need to stay on top of it, the worst thing you can do is leave your loved ones stranded and scared before you can get to them.

“IF’s” are necessary conversations to have, or at least to put into your FEP booklet. IF you don’t make it home, IF you are not home in 2 days, what are the kids/friends supposed to do IF comes true. Plan for the worst, Hope for the best.

Next: Family Emergency Plan #2: Making a FEP booklet – What information to include/Location of book


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