Getting Prepared One Step at a Time

Slow and steady wins the race! Photo c/o redbrownandblue.com

Slow and steady wins the race! Photo c/o redbrownandblue.com

Time’s a wastin’. Getting prepared takes a concerted effort on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t take require loads of money or fancy contraptions. It takes action. The good news is that even though I’m not surrounded with a particular need for preparedness right now, I’m still amply rewarded when I do a little something to improve my family’s state of readiness. I find that each activity I do and every effort I make in this regard increases my level of peace, confidence, and assurance substantially. Here are some ideas as to what you can do this weekend to be better prepared. Just pick one or even a couple of these activities and improve your readiness factor!

  • Organize an area of food storage. Just one area, such as soups, pastas, wheat, sugar, etc.
  • Run your family through a fire drill in the home
    Fire Drill photo c/o njfamily.com

    Fire Drill photo c/o njfamily.com

  • Learn how to grow sprouts
  • Learn how to use a solar oven
  • Try making dinner on your butane stove
  • Learn how to use a pressure cooker
  • Bottle butter
  • Go fishing (Yes, ladies, that IS a preparedness skill)
  • Learn how to make a candle out of a tuna can
  • Make fire without a match (preferably NOT in your home.) :)
  • Cook in your Dutch Oven
  • Learn CPR
  • Fill those water barrels
  • Make notes on your laundry detergent, toothpaste, and toilet paper so that you know how long they actually last your family. (This way you know how much you need for a year)
  • Burn/cut up a credit card
  • Learn how to make bread
  • Sanitize your home including doorknobs, cupboard doors, refrigerator handles, air vents, and telephones
  • Try some powdered milk and find one that you like
  • Read for a half hour on Preparedness Pro to learn something new
  • Preserve your favorite dry foods with a FoodSaver
    FoodSaver photo c/o foodsaverblog.com

    FoodSaver photo c/o foodsaverblog.com

  • Do a financial analysis of how you can allocate a bit more money each month towards eliminating debt
  • Make sure your family knows how to turn off the gas line to your home
  • Identify where all of your other water sources are
  • Attend a self-defense class
  • Attend a couponing class
  • Read the U.S. Constitution (Yup, becoming familiar with this is an act of preparedness in defense of foreign or domestic enemies.)
  • Practice target shooting at a range
  • Teach your family a “gathering plan”
  • Get your Concealed Firearm Permit
  • Learn how to use come common essential oils
  • Learn how to put up your tent all by yourself :)
  • Wax some hard cheese
  • Preserve some eggs
  • Go camping
  • Go for a 5 mile walk with the family
  • Learn a new recipe that you can make from what’s readily available in your pantry.

Bacon Potatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce

1 C. evaporated milk
1 ½ T. cornstarch
1 T. minced garlic (I prefer mine from the jar that’s in oil)
1 T. butter
1/8 t. salt
1 t. dried rosemary
1 T. of real bacon bits, or bacon flavored TVP
Two 15-ounce cans of whole potatoes, drained

Whisk the cornstarch into the milk until it is dissolved. Add the butter, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and bacon. Bring to a low boil and stir until thickened (This will take about 3 minutes.) Add the canned potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes—or until no longer hard. This side dish serves 4 nicely or you can also add some fried Spam and a drained can of corn and make it a main dish.

So which preparedness activity are you going to do this weekend?

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Comments

Kellene,

I had an area where things tended to accumulate, especially odds and ends of food that I was rotating into storage but didn't quite have the time to put away correctly at the time. I knew what was there but other family members would have been challenged to find an item I might ask them to retrieve. In just a few 15-20 minute sessions over several days I have it under control; the eat the elephant system.

Thanks for encouraging us to stretch!

Well the bunny breeding had already begun, I just didn't know it. Scrath had 8 bunnies Saturday. She took me totally by surprise, must have happened when I was cleaning cages and did not keep Arnold and her from mating as well as I should have. So far so good all the bunnies are alive and doing well in spite of not having a nesting box. I ordered the nesting boxes last week.LOL

I agree most the time. But most of my family, anything more complicated than boiling water, or a microwave. Exceeds their capacity. You have to remember I am a total loon. In their eyes.
I know they will ask for help, do I not help just because their ignorant and oblivious. I'm lucky my mom and I am building boxes for them. Actually they are lucky because we could just let them hang.
So I will build stuff not because it is efficient, but because it may get in their home. I because I will take care of family. Even if I have to fight them, and sneak around them.
My Mom and myself will win, because we are sneaker, nastier than they are. We will drag them along. If they won't play well my Mom and myself have yet to find anything we can't handle.It may not be pretty, but we will win. We've won ever time before. Mom was sneaky before, I am totally diabolical.
I can't lose my family.I will win, Failure is not an option.
Yes I will piss and bitch, and moan. But, I won't abandon them.
It make time but I will get them, or my mom will. We will win! "Never give up, Never surrender" LOL
Prophets are never appreciated. It takes no prophet to see what is coming.

Great list! Those are good ideas for setting some goals.

There are just some smells that get me as well. Bacon, chocolate, a nice yeast bread baking. We did a school project(30 years ago) of whole cloves and oranges. The aroma was wonderful and I still think of it today and reminds me of fall. You would think with all the oils in coffee that "they" could make an candle or incense of it.

Not sure of your location Murph. If you live where it's dry and get's very cold in the winter like - 20 Fahrenheit, it maybe possible. But by then most wegies and fruit are out of season. It may be doable with dry ice or liquid nitrogen. But by the time you bought all that stuff it would be cheaper to get it from a good supplier ready made. I do know that the Tibetans and Nepalese freeze-dry, but also are in the Himalayas. High winds and cold, dry air and time. Heck I think with a green house you could have fresh vegies year-round cheaper than you could learn how to freeze dry.

finding preparednesspro and your daily blogs has helped me redefine my 'preparedness level' and how I can 'eat this elephant' a little at a time. thanks again Kellene for putting your talents into this!

Murph, I'll be blunt. I have no idea how to freeze dry items at home. I purchase all of mine, but as I shared in a previous article, it's comparable to what I pay for fresh, and it sure as heck lasts longer with more inherent nutrition and taste too.

Indeed, Dee! Keep in mind too that freezer burn doesn't need to be your nemesis when you have a pressure cooker. It puts the moisture back in and no one will know you cooked freezer-burned meat or veggies.

I enjoy getting prepared but I know that I lack in a lot of area's. It has been so fun to use my coupons to build my food storage and have excess items that I can give to the local food drives. I took the coupon boot camp class today and learned how to be more efficient and get more free!! Thanks Kellene for sharing your expertise.

Sincerely,
Marcy

Thanks Marcy for your kind words. Glad you could enjoy the Coupon Training Bootcamp!!

I dont' drink coffe, but I love the smell of it. I wonder if it's a mood enhancer? :-)

Indeed, you ARE a busy one!
Just so you know, I prefer not to make baking mixes so that I don't pigeon hole my supplies and can use them universally. Food for thought--hee hee excuse the pun.

For the eggs, I put on some food handling gloves and then just slather the mineral oil on the eggs. Good luck with all of your projects! Way to go!

I got my food saver for free at a yard sale. It was the last day and they just wanted stuff gone. You might check some charities that resale items like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or local charities. Yahoo has a Freecycle Group.
You sign up to the group and you can get rid of stuff you don't want or need, request something you are looking for.I believe that what goes around comes around.

I am very sensitive about costs as well so I understand where you are coming from. There is a bit of a start up investment, just like anything you may do. You can start cheap, with a water bath canner about $20.00, a fan, some furnace filters and the sun is a great dehydrator and will cost you about $40.00. Smoking and curing can be done for around $100.00 or less, heck you can make a hot smoker for the price of a a hot plate and wood chips less than $30.00 and finding a cardboard box. And all of these items payoff year after year.
It's not easy, there is some work and time involved.
Jerky is a good example in most stores you will pay about $2.00-4.00 for 2 oz. of meat that works out to $32.00 to $64.00 dollars a pound.
Now I have bought a "London broil" for less than $2.00 a pound, cured, dried and smoked. Safe after 3 months, yes I tested on myself 1st. Yes it did take time. But I knew the meat, the process I used, and it was darn tasty. My only investment was the price of the meat and time. Plus you can do other things while the pot is bubbling away, or the smoker is smoking, or the cure is curing.

For next 2 weeks I making some GOTH (GO To Heck) Boxes, for some of my non-prepping family members. Just something to keep around or can be easily put in a car. Not a Bug out bag, but something that I know can get through plus added to later. It's about the size of a shoe box. If you would like I can send you the contents. I can cover basic food, heat/light, sanitation, 1st aid and communication. Water is the only weak point because it's size.

2.Preserving eggs, do you place the mineral in a bowl and dipped the eggs or just wipe them down with it?
3.My old cookbook has a recipe for making your own bake mix. I will be making up some batches and storing it in 1/2 gal. Mason jars sealed with my new Foodsaver Jar sealer. Woohoo, new toy to try out.

4. Got some great little decorative harvest jars at the dollar store. I am going to make some "friendship soup" and rice and beans premix for gifts.
5.I know how to use a pressure cooker,so I am going to try cooking 1 days worth of food with just a thermos and boiling water. I have a breakfast and some Lunch/dinner recipes to try out.
6.Making sun dried tomatoes in olive oil.
7. Start breeding the bunnies.

Wow I just realized how many projects I have going. I definitely be busy for the next month.

Just an idea for folks out there that are coffee fiends like I am and hate instant coffee. Get a "French Press" coffee maker. If power goes down this will save a ton of fuel compared to a percolator. Place in the coffee grounds, boil some water add to the press and let it steep for 3 to 4 minutes. Plus you don't have to worry about it boiling over and the coffee tastes great. I found 1 for around $12.00 at a grocery store. I hope to get a couple more for gifts.

I have used my foodsaver since 1999. Less so on the jar attachment. It is nice to have your meats without freezer burn so readily.

Read the article about the "Hierarchy of Fruits and Vegatables" that I wrote and then decide if it's worth it to you to do dehydrated. It's better than canned. But you may want to do more freeze-dried for the nutrition factor. Good luck!!!

I'm new at all this (read 'clueless').

I know dehydrating can be done at home, use the vacuum sealer, and then put away a long-term supply. Use the dehydrated stuff routinely, of course, but I'm thinking about preparing for long-term emergencies & possible future food shortages.

Can I freeze-dry food at home? Are there "freeze-driers" like there are dehydrators? Or must all the freeze dried items be purchased?

'Preciate your help.

Just tonight, I ran out of sour cream for this rice/squash/ground beef dish I make. I had purchsed a couple of weeks ago a packet of dry sour cream powder, I had ordered from Berry Farms thru a prep site. (I have forgotten which one!) It was fantastic! It does not set up, but added to a dish it saved the day!

Twice a year, we go through our 72 hr. kits and eat what is in there. Then we go to the $1 store and pick out replacements. I did this because I found out that I had baby food in my 72 hr kit when my 'baby' was 10 years old~

I've read about dehydrating & am interested. If I do it, it will be whole-hog. Pricy to get started, but I'm willing: dehydrator, vacuum food sealer, and all the storage bags. In your opinion, is this a worthwhile project to start? Negatives?

ciousI'm going to the couponing class tomorrow in Provo. I'm taking my daughter. As prices and cost of living go up, this will become more and more valuable.

Also, it's good to have things to work on for preparedness that don't cost anything for when you are broke.

The potatoe recipe sounds delicious.

Great post Kellene! A great list of things that everyone should start working towards.

LOVE THIS!!! Sometimes I get so overwhelmed in doing stuff that I burn out and then shut down completely. NOT productive. This is a great little list to use as a plan of attack for those days when I don't have the time/means to do something major, but still be productive!

Thanks so much for this! :-D

amber

This recipe looks good. I was trying to think how I could improvise this with my potato flakes. Can you make potato balls with the flakes so you have the feel of a whole potato without having to have the canned potatoes?

I don't think you'll like the texture with flakes. But it could be a yummy sauce on top of mashed potatoes or cooked with potatoe shreds.

Plus I am just posting to get the freebie thats out threre

good article to get people started on a path of personal growth and security in this area. Just starting relieves some stress.

Love lists like these!
When you mention the tuna can candles, are you referring to little burners you can make with rolled up cardboard and wax? Please elaborate if you are referring to a different technique, as I'd love to hear more.
Thanks

I'm actually referring to a different technique. We usually put the link with things like this. So I'll make sure I have my assistant add that to the article for ya.

This link is now attached to the words "tuna can" for your convenience.

Great list! I've been a preparedness advocate for years, and you had a few on here even I had not yet done. :) Am getting pretty good with the solar oven - even taking it Lake Powell this week. Can't wait to see how I do using it almost exclusively. Thanks!

Just an thing I found on the internet. Small popup tents, and setting them up in the home. You can try it for just an evening, or have your kids build a "fort" out of blankets and furniture if you don't have a tent.
1.Much less space to heat.
2.I think a tent or "fort" would make a major/long lasting power outage less panic inducing for children and more of an adventure.
3.A lot of stress happens from a perceived or real lack of control. Putting up a tent even if it is in your own home makes you pro active. You are doing something positive, you are exerting control of your environment.
4.Something to practice on short outages.
Create Scenarios but make and practice them during "safe" times. Maybe you hear the TV or radio do an Emergency Broadcast system test, or a weather warning. Time for you to do your test as well.

Everyone get your 72 Hr Kit
Lets set up the tent/fort, even a child can hold a flashlight, maybe not well LOL
Entertainment: Cards, games, books, story telling etc.
5.Emergency items ready?
6.Does everyone have a job? keep everyone busy, less time for stress or panic to set in.
7.Safety
Where is the gas,water,electrical shutoffs?
Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors working?
Fire extinguishers and 1st aid kits ready?
Radio and Communication ready?

Remember talk it through, walk it through, then you will be ready to hit the ground running.

Jamie,
Funny that, As a FHE activity, back in 1991, werected our 4-person tent in our living room, ate /tested MRE, and talked about our emergency plans with our 4 kids(13,10,6,4). We thing agree upon things they wanted in the individual 72-hr kits and tried to replenish them that night. My grown kids still think of that nnight as one of their favorites!

Using gloves and just wiping the eggs down worked great. I did not realize just how far a little mineral oil would go.
Bunnies eyes are open now. Really lifted my spirits,life keeps going on no matter what happens in the world the little miracle of life just keeps on happening.

Yes, folks are surprised when I tell them a quarter cup will do about 6 dozen eggs. Glad you got around to doing it, Jamie.

Gosh sorry about the MRE at that time, they were truly vile. Great for making meals, the ole sausage and hamburger patty. Lot's of cheese spread, everything can be made better with 3 ingredients.
1. Chocolate
2. Garlic
3. Cheese
They have gotten a lot better.
If Kellene wants it I'll send an ole "Ranger Pudding" Recipe made from stuff in MRE's.

Jamie,
We LOVED the baked beans, and beef stew. The taste issue is always individual. That's the point of the trial runs.

when choosing smoke detectors, it is still cheaper to use those ionization type smoke detectors "

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