8 Ways to Practice Preparedness This Summer

We hope you are having a great summer so far and haven’t forgotten about food storage and preparednesstoo much with all the fun going on :) We actually have found summer to be a perfect time of year to practice different aspects of your preparedness and have a little fun while doing it. Here are eight ideas that you can use if you are looking to bolster your preps a little over the next few months.
8 Ways to Practice Preparedness {{image}}
If you are camping with your family, grab your 72 hour kits and use those foods for meals. Practice cooking with your camping stoves, try different foods rather than sticking with hot dogs and s’mores. Use different fuels since you are cooking outdoors anyway. Use your Dutch Oven to make gourmet foods for your campout!
Dutch Oven Cooking Overview (with briquette chart)
Practice different emergency scenarios with your kids. Go over your Emergency Preparedness Plan together.  You can even try our disaster kit scavenger hunt if you don’t have yours put together yet.  Make some little #10 can stoves, ovens, and grills and let your kids cook something on them! Practice cooking new things and let the kids participate with you. Let the kids help you with your canning adventures.
Every time you barbecue you are really practicing powerless cooking. Try getting adventurous and cooking regular foods on your grill. You can do pizza, bread, vegetables, etc. It’s a good idea to monitor your fuel consumption so that you can have a better idea of how much to store. Figure out how to use it more efficiently to conserve fuel.
Summer is a great time to do your canning because your kids can be around to help. Having powerless options for canning is great in case you lose power and don’t want to lose all your meats from your freezer. Practice canning outside to keep your kitchen from getting too hot and practice powerless canning at the same time!
Helius Rocket Stove (can do pressure canning on this stove)
Summer time is a great time to work on your water rotation. There are so many thing you need water for in thesummer, you might as well use your stored water rather than waste brand new water if you are planning to rotate anyway!
If you are at block parties or family get togethers, you can practice preparedness and spread the word to your neighbors about being more prepared. Bring a volcano grill and build a fire or cook food. You could also use food storage foods to make your pot luck items and let people know.  This is a good chance to find out if your neighborhood has a preparedness plan in place and/or to organize something if they don’t.  Even a simple calling tree or group CERT class can be a great addition to any community.
Road trips are a great time to evaluate your car kits while you travel. But it’s also a perfect time to talk about your preparedness plans and make a plan for what to do in the future, go over inventory lists, etc. You have your kids contained, and your spouse’s full attention. It’s a win win!
It’s always a great idea to find ways to AVOID heating up your kitchen in the summer to save on A/C costs or unpleasant heat. Some of our favorite tools for doing this easily are the All-American Sun Oven and Volcano Grills.
If you give any of these ideas a try, post about your experiences in the comments or over on Facebook!

How to Make a #10 Can Grill

A few weeks ago we sent an email out about 8 Ways to Practice Preparedness This Summer. If you didn’t get the email make sure you are signed up for our Babystep Checklists which includes our newsletters too! One of the ideas was to do some powerless cooking activities with the kids. We’ve made #10 Can Stoves before but I thought it would be fun to try the #10 Can Grill which I’ve seen floating around on Facebook and Pinterest. It was so easy and would make a great little portable grill or a temporary one if you don’t have a big barbecue at your house. Here’s how I did it!


You need an empty #10 can. No shortage of these around your house I bet :)


Cut the can into 1 1/2 – 2 inch strips using “tin snips”. I didn’t know what these were but my mom had some that I borrowed. They can cut through the metal but it was still a little tricky. Keep kids away for this part and watch out for sharp edges.


Cover the entire thing with foil and place charcoal briquets in the bottom.


Light your charcoal (mine was old so I sprinkled some InstaFire on top to help get things going).


Place some sort of grill on top. This one came from my Volcano Grill and worked perfectly. You could use any wire rack that you have hanging around the kitchen. Cook that food. Yummmm hot dogs!


Let us know if you try to make this grill and share a picture over on our Facebook page if you do! I’d love to see how everyone else’s turned out :)

Making a camping plan

We’ve talked a lot on our blog about how camping can be a good way to practice some of your preparedness skills. This summer we have a goal as a family to camp a 3-4 times. Last summer we went once during a major rainstorm for one night and it was a disaster. I was newly pregnant and feeling sick AND got food poisoning from a gas station treat on our way up to the campsite. Let’s just say anything this summer will be way better.

That night has me determined to be better prepared for the elements and better prepared to go camping regularly. After last year’s disaster I decided I have two steps to take. I’m sure more will come as we become better campers but this year I’m working on two things:

  1. Get the right equipment
  2. Having camping headquarters where all my stuff is easy to access and pack/li>


Here are some immediate things I’m looking to change and purchase.

Tent: I wish I can say I have this one solved. I have a tent that’s super heavy duty for long term and winter conditions, but I don’t have one that is good for recreational camping yet. I’ve just borrowed from my parents until now. Here are things I’m looking for in a tent.

  • Without fail every time we camp in rains. Having a waterproof tent is really important to me. It seems as though every review I read on tents people complain of their tents leaking.
  • Easy set-up is a big deal too. If it’s hard to set up I’m sure camping will lose it’s apeal really fast.
  • I’m ok with a tent being heavy. I’m not a backpacker. Not yet at least? Who knows maybe this camping thing will turn out fun in the future, but for now I don’t need the material to be air thin and portable on my back.
  • Reputable company. I’d like a tent with a decent warranty. One that protects against 4 crazy young boys would be nice but we’d put them out of business with replacements.

“Air Mattresses”: I always make sure to bring some form of air mattress because I’m a giant sissy. Last weekend my husband and sons went on a Father’s sons camp-out and they didn’t bring the mattresses. They actually ended up being cold. Somehow it never dawned on us that having air mattresses on the ground insulates you from the cold. I’m thinking a big regular air mattress is too bulky but I’m looking for ones that will wrap up and do the trick.

I know a lot of tents have built in tarps. I’m looking to have a tarp under our tent to keep it clean. Cleaning the tent after camping isn’t that fun at all. I’m thinking if we place the tent on a tarp we can pack away the tent and then clean the tarp easily after.

Other stuff:
I’m pretty prepared in the outdoor cooking tools and fuels. These aren’t a problem for me. I did get an extra big cooler since my family has grown since the last time I bought one. I could do better with dishes though. We usually do a lot of disposable things and I’d like to get better at using more sustainable products.


My plan is to have all my stuff easy to pack in the car and go. Over the year’s I’ve realized I really like camping. I just don’t like preparing and packing for it. So far I’ve got the shelf put up and got some bins ready. I have a lot of gear scattered around and will be compiling it. Here are two great resources to help you put together your list. I’m looking at both and tailoring mine to our personal families needs.

1. Inspired by Misty’s post at Your Own Homestore I’m building a camping headquarters shelf. She explains her system in her post here. It’s amazing and right up my alley!

2. In addition to Misty’s list my dad is a big camper and sent me an excel spreadsheet of everything he packs for camping trips. Here is a link to the excel file. If you don’t have excel here is the list from his excel file. Like I said (this isn’t backpacking). Feel free to modify the list to fit your own preferences.









CHAIRS (4 lawn chairs and 2 tri-pods)





So my thought process helps you a little bit. I’ve still got some learning to do but this is where I’m starting. I’m kind of excited to see the adventures we have this summer!

Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake Recipe

Sometimes I forget to check on my rhubarb … I didn’t quite realize that it would be ready to harvest in the spring, because I harvested a bunch last fall. Rhubarb is a beautiful thing! So the other day I went out and got a HUGE batch out of my garden.

We were having a family dinner and I knew that I would be searching for an awesome rhubarb recipe to bring for dessert. I settled for a Rhubarb Coffee Cake recipe that was recommend by The Pioneer Woman since she never leads me astray. It was just the perfect combination of cake, fruit, and crumble. I took all the leftovers home and ate them for days.


Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen which was adapted from New York Times recipe :)


Rhubarb Filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups white flour

Cake Batter:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter


Preheat oven to 325. Grease an 8×8 baking dish (if doubling the recipe use a 9×13 pan). Slice the rhubarb into small chunks and mix with other filling ingredients. Set aside.

For crumb topping, whisk together all ingredients except flour. Then slowly add flour until it forms a dough. Press in bottom of bowl and set aside.

For cake batter, combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Slowly add dry mixture to wet in a mixing bowl. Mix together for several minutes until smooth.

Reserve 1/2 cup of cake batter. Pour the rest into baking dish. Spoon the rhubarb filling over the cake batter. Top with reserved cake batter. It doesn’t have to cover it completely. Break crumb topping into large chunks and spread over top of cake.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Tips for Growing/Harvesting Rhubarb

I had very little experience with rhubarb and still don’t feel like much of an expert. It seems to grow pretty easily here in Utah so I haven’t stressed about proper care very much. I planted it in my raised garden beds last spring and harvested a big crop in the fall, and another this spring. It still seem to keep growing. I love it! Here are some tips for harvesting that I found from almanac.com when I had no idea how I was supposed to do it :)

  • Do not harvest any stalks during the first growing season so that your plants can become established.
  • Harvest the stalks when they are 12 to 18 inches long. Usually after 3 years, the harvest period runs 8 to 10 weeks long. If the stalks become thin, stop harvesting; this means the plant’s food reserves are low.
  • Grab the base of the stalk and pull it away from the plant with a gentle twist. If this doesn’t work, you can cut the stalk at the base. Be sure the discard of the leaves!
  • Always leave at least 2 stalks per plant to ensure continued production. You may have a bountiful harvest for up to 20 years without having to replace your rhubarb plants.
  • After harvest time, the stems may die back. Just remove all plant debris. Once your ground freezes, it’s best to cover rhubarb with 2 to 4 inches of mulch, preferably well-rotted compost; by adding nitrogen to the soil, you’re preparing the rhubarb plants for a good spring season.

9 Easy Ways to Use Freeze-Dried Vegetables

At Food Storage Made Easy, we are strong advocates of using your food storage on a regular basis so that you can rotate through it, as well as learn how to use it in your regular cooking.  So to help you out with that, we wanted to share with you a list of ways we like to use our freeze-dried vegetables. Don't just let those cans or buckets sit in the basement until there is an emergency!  Also keep scrolling down because we are announcing a HUGE sale on Chef's Banquet Vegetable Buckets just for Food Storage Made Easy readers.  


Some veggies are great to snack on straight out of the can.  Corn is a favorite among both kids and grown-ups.  It tastes a little bit like popcorn without all the added butter and salt.  Yum!
If you love making smoothies and want some added nutrition, you can throw in some green veggies along with your fruit to make your smoothies even healthier.  Our favorite is freeze-dried spinach because spinach spoils so quickly.
Freeze-dried veggies are perfect in soups and stews where they will just rehydrate while the soup cooks.  You don't have to purchase and chop up individual items, so it's easy to get a large variety in your meals.
Freeze dried veggies are great for making homemade baby food in a snap.  You simply grind up your selected vegetable in a food processor and add water until you get the desired consistency.  So much cheaper and healthier than store-bought baby food. The best part is you can keep the powder in your diaper bag and make up only a small amount and not worry about wasting a half bottle of uneaten food while you are out and about.
Do you love eating potatoes but hate peeling, dicing, boiling, mashing them, etc? With freeze dried potatoes you can make hashbrowns, potato salad, funeral potatoes, or even mashed potatoes in just a few minutes.  Perfect for a last minute pot luck side dish.
Most people don't realize that you can cook up freeze-dried vegetables and flavor them just like you would regular veggies and use them as a side dish.  We've found freeze dried green beans to be very similar to frozen green beans, and much better than canned.  Simply rehydrate, heat up, and serve.
If you have picky eaters you may find it hard to get them to eat vegetables.  If you stick vegetables in a food processor you can make a nutrient-dense powder that can be sprinkled into lots of main dishes, especially ones with a lot of color and flavor already such as spaghetti sauce.  Experiment and see what you can sneakily get your kids to eat!
Any vegetable that needs to be peeled and/or chopped can be replaced with a freeze-dried vegetable and be a huge time-saver.  Some of our favorites are onions, celery, and peppers.
Have you ever bought a whole green pepper when you just needed half of one for a recipe?  Or had a bunch of celery go bad after you only used 2-3 stalks?  With freeze-dried vegetables you can use ONLY what you need to for a recipe and can save money by not having as much waste.

For a limited time you can get a Chef's Banquet 320 serving vegetable bucket for more than 50% off retail pricing and free shipping.  Here are the pricing details:

  • Regular Retail price:  $262.43 
  • FOOD STORAGE MADE EASY SALE PRICE:  $109.99 + free shipping!
  • Price valid until June 5th (sale is on the 320 Serving Veggie Bucket only)
  • Limited quantities available, sale pricing valid until inventory runs out

(Use coupon code FSME58 at checkout)


Chef's Banquet Freeze Dried Vegetables come in mylar pouches sealed inside a bucket for easy storing.  Here are some details about the bucket

  • 320 Total Servings
  • Easy to open and use
  • Easy to Open zip-seal mylar foil pouches
  • Great for snacks
  • Great for storage
  • Up to 20-year shelf life (if stored in a dry, cool environment)
  • No additives or preservatives

This Freeze Dried Vegetable Variety bucket contains the following: 

  • Sweet Peas – 36 Servings (2 pouches – each pouch is 8.57 oz) 
  • Diced Potatoes – 28 Servings (2 pouches – each pouch is 6.9 oz) 
  • Corn – 40 Servings (2 pouches – each pouch is 7 oz) (Country of 
  • Green Beans – 62 Servings (2 pouches – each pouch is 3.3 oz) 
  • Cauliflower – 80 Servings (2 pouches – each pouch is 2.82 oz) 
  • Broccoli – 74 Servings (2 pouches – each pouch is 5 oz) (Country

(Use coupon code FSME58 at checkout)


Cilantro-Lime Rice Recipe: Food Storage Style


To celebrate Mother’s Day this year, the women in my family did a Walking Taco Bar to make a really easy dinner that everyone just contributed a little something to. It was so fun and delicious!

My assigned task was to make Cilantro Lime Rice but I didn’t see the texts about it until late Saturday night. I looked at the recipe and knew I was missing a few ingredients but I knew that my food storage could rescue me! So here is the original recipe and the run down of how I made it “food storage style”.


Food Storage Cilantro-Lime Rice

2 T. vegetable oil
1/3 c. freeze-dried chopped onions
1 tsp. minced garlic
7 cups water
8 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 c. freeze-dried cilantro
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 c. freeze dried green chili peppers
1 T. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. white rice

In a large pot saute onions and garlic in oil just until lightly brown. Add remaining ingredients except rice and bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 20 minutes or until rice is soft. This makes a BIG batch and its so flavorful!

Screen shot 2015-05-14 at 10.54.50 AM

The Thrive Life green chilis and cilantro are on sale this month as part of the Thrive Fiesta pack or individually so it was perfect timing because I had everything on hand! There are a few other new products that would go along great with this recipe. We used the new Freeze-Dried Guacamole in our walking taco bar and it was a big hit. Click here to check out all the May sale items.


Food Storage Do-Over Week 17: Protection/Self Defense

We are excited to be starting week 17 (the FINAL week) of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! We are getting close to the end of this adventure. If you didn’t catch last week’s post which talked about emergency shelter, heating, and cooling you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!


Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be looking at our plans for protection and self defense. Since we are NOT experts on this at all, we have asked Angela Paskett from Food Storage and Survival to help us with this week’s education and tasks. Thanks ANGELA!

Thanks to Jodi and Julie for asking me to help them out on this week’s topic! Protection and firearms is a broad topic that would need a book to cover thoroughly, so be sure to check the resources at the bottom of the post for more information on any part of this topic that interests you!

Unfortunately, the world isn’t populated only with “good guys”. Violent crimes happen every day at the hands of bad people. Having a line or two of self defense at the ready can help you prevent these crimes from happening to you, and help you come out alive if they do.

Situational Awareness

One of the best ways to protect yourself from bad guys or bad situations is to be aware of your surroundings. Keep your phone in your pocket, keep your head up, and look around as you are walking or driving. For most of us, it’s really easy to get caught up in our thoughts or outside distractions and be less aware of our surroundings. Using Cooper’s Color Code for Situational Awareness, summarized below, consciously moving from level white to level yellow will help avert problems before they become bigger problems. Which color are you normally in?

White: You are totally unaware of what’s going on around you. Wrapped up in your thoughts of what’s for dinner or that cute boy that texted you or whatever other thoughts distract you from reality. Maybe you’re caught up in what’s happening on your phone or tablet in a public place. At any rate, you’re blissfully unaware that anything could happen. Attackers look for victims in this state! Don’t be one.

Yellow: You are alert and aware. Keeping your mind engaged in your current situation, you are aware of what and who you are surrounded by. There is no specific threat and you are not in any sort of paranoid freak out mode. You are calm but watchful. Yellow is the color you want to be when you are anywhere you could encounter a threat to your life or safety.

Orange: You have identified a possible threat and have plans to take action. No action yet, but you are ready to do what is needed to protect yourself and those with you.

Red: Now you’re in full blown fight mode and taking any action that may be necessary to stop the threat. Most of us will rarely, if ever, need to be in this state.

Situational awareness is your first line of protection. By being aware of your surroundings, you may be able to avoid trouble all together!

Basic self defense

Take a self defense class. Most martial arts are excellent exercise as well as training for close quarters self defense. Practice is key. Train your body to instinctively respond to being grabbed, pushed, or swung at and your brain won’t need to be fully engaged for you to be able to defend yourself. No license or special equipment needed, and it is also great for kids and teens. I trained in a karate class with my daughters (then age 8 and 11) and we had an absolute blast doing it together. You can find some videos online that show self defense moves, but be sure you don’t just watch! Get a friend to help you practice.


  • No license needed.
  • Most self defense skills only use your body and you always have your body with you.


  • The bad guy has to be within striking distance to use it.
  • Bad guy is not going to follow the rules so things may not go like they do in class.
  • Physically demanding.

Assignments for this Week:

  • Be aware of your awareness level.
  • Research self defense class options in your area and get yourself and/or your children signed up for one.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

Ready to take the next step and add some tools to your protection plan? Let’s explore some of my favorite options!

Non-Lethal Self Defense Tools

Striking tools. If hitting with your fist is good, how much more effect can hitting with something harder have? Use a tool specifically designed for striking like a kubaton, or get creative with whatever is around. Baseball bats are particularly popular here for homes and vehicles, but you probably have keys, a pen, or a heavy purse that could be put to use without hauling a bat around with you. Here are some great suggestions for discreet weapons using items you may already be carrying.

Pepper spray. Containing the heat of about a gazillion hot peppers, pepper spray causes temporary blindness, swelling of the breathing tube tissues, and burning skin, minimizing the attacker’s ability to see and function properly. The blindness can last 15 to 30 minutes, with other effects such as burning skin lasting an hour or more. Look for pepper spray that sprays in a stream (so you don’t get affected by any overspray), and contains UV dye that helps police identify the perpetrator later. Damsel in Defense products fit the bill nicely. The idea is to spray and get away so you aren’t around when it wears off!


  • At time of posting, pepper spray is legal in all but a few states (DC, MA, MI, NY and WI). Always check your local laws before purchasing.
  • Inexpensive (most between $10 and $25).
  • Easy to use.


  • You have to be close enough and have good enough aim to hit your attacker where it counts.
  • Must have the pepper spray with you and be able to access and deploy it quickly.
  • Limited amount of spray in each canister.

Stun gun.
Stun guns use high amperage and low voltage to stun. The shock creates muscle spasms which incapacitate the attacker. The stun gun does not need to touch skin, but does need to physically contact your attacker in order to work. At a distance, the sound of a stun gun may be enough to deter an attack. As with pepper spray, this is a method to buy yourself some time to get away. Stun and run.


  • Easy to carry and use.
  • Looks and sound may be enough to deter attacker at a distance.
  • Can be used multiple times.


  • Must be carried with you and charged.
  • A little more expensive (most between $50 and $100).
  • Must be used in close proximity to attacker.
  • At time of posting, use is restricted in HI; MA; NJ; NY; RI; IL; MI; CT; DC; WI; MD; New Castle County, DE; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Philadelphia, PA; and all U.S. Virgin Islands. Always check your local laws before purchasing.


Yes! We’re talking firearms! One of my favorite topics. Now, just so you all know, I’ve personally invited Jodi and Julie for some good old fashioned shooting fun at my place this summer, so look for a report on that adventure once we’ve got it done. It’s going to be good. :) As with any self defense tool, practice is key with firearms. Get to know your gun like a trusted friend and it will serve you well when you need to use it. If you plan to carry your firearm with you, be sure to check local laws concerning open carry and concealed carry where you will be taking it.


  • Can hit targets at long distances.
  • Even a great grandma can win against a 250 lb. attacker.
  • Sometimes the sight or sound alone can be enough to deter an attacker.
  • Practicing is fun!


  • Can be an expensive option to acquire and practice with.
  • Firearm ownership and use is restricted in some areas. Always check your local laws!
  • Only works until the bullets run out.

There is a TON of information about firearms out there, and if you get looking you’ll see that everyone has an opinion, but we’re going to stick to the basics here to get you started. These link to a series I ran on my site a few years ago on firearm basics for beginners.

If you’ve never been shooting before, here are some great ways to get started:

  • Ask a trusted friend or relative with firearms knowledge to take you shooting. I don’t know anyone who loves guns and shooting that wouldn’t be willing to teach someone who wants to learn.
  • Head to your local gun store or shooting range and ask for classes. They may have concealed carry classes, basic firearm classes, classes just for women, and more. They’ll be glad to point you in the right direction. If you’re nervous, take a friend along with you!
  • Take a Hunter Safety class through your state’s Wildlife department.

And you adults aren’t the only ones that need to understand firearm safety! Make sure your kids know what to do if they find a gun. The National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program is a fantastic resource for teaching kids firearm safety.

In my experience, layers of defense are better than just one method. Awareness is always important, and if you can add some self defense skills and tools to your defense set, you’re that much more likely to have what you need if you ever need to get out of a bad situation. And whichever methods you choose for your personal defense, be sure to practice, practice, practice!

Assignments for this Week:

  • Research non-lethal self defense options and purchase one that will work for you and is legal where you live.
  • Inventory the items you carry every day to determine what could be used as a striking tool. Add something if you need to.
  • Inventory firearms and ammunition in your home. Write down firearm serial numbers and add it to your emergency notebook and/or homeowner’s insurance file.
  • Set a date for a firearms class with a friend!
  • Teach your children basic gun safety.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

Screen shot 2015-05-07 at 12.15.20 AM Damsel in Defense: Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, Kubatons, and more. Damsel in Defense is about equipping women with the tools to not only keep them safe but also to give them the confidence to know that they have a way out if they ever feel threatened.
Legally Armed: A Concealed Carry Gun Law: The one guide you need for concealed carry gun law is here. This book covers carry laws nationwide, highlighting common points of law for each state and the District of Columbia, such that a reader should clearly understand how each jurisdiction differs.

Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

10 Things I Learned Earning my Karate Yellow Belt
10 preparedness reasons to put your kids in karate (also applies to you!)
Creative zombie apocalypse bats
How to defend your family in a home invasion
National Rifle Association
US Concealed Carry Association
Holsters for women
23 Firearm Truths for Women (although they really apply to anyone)
WikiArms (find ammo for sale online–yes, even .22lr)

Food Storage Do-Over Week 16: Shelter/Heating/Cooling

We are excited to be starting week 16 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! We are getting close to the end of this adventure. If you didn’t catch last week’s post which talked about Powerless Cooking you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!


Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be looking at our plans for shelter as well as for keeping cool or warm in an emergency. As with most preparedness topics, it’s best to start small and it least get SOMETHING, and then work towards larger longer-term solutions.


Many families have some sort of camping supplies on hand already. These will be great to use in emergency situations too. Here are some things to consider and tasks to do this week to get your shelter preps started for evacuation purposes.

  • Inventory any camping supplies you already have on hand.
  • Put all shelter supplies in one large container or at least in one specific area of the garage.
  • At a minimum store some tarps and ropes to make basic shelters.
  • Save up for or purchase a high-quality all-season tent that is rated for +2 more people than your full family size. This will give you room to store supplies inside your tent and not be too squished.
  • Have a 0 degree sleeping bag for each family member. If you have room, also store a lighter-weight sleeping bag or blankets for summertime emergencies.
  • If you have space, consider also storing cots, air mattresses, foam pads, etc. to add to your comfort levels.
  • Store supplies to help you set up your shelter such as a hammer to stake down the tent, lanterns or flashlights to help set it up in the dark, basic fire-starting materials, etc.

Keeping Warm

One of the biggest safety concerns in an emergency is freezing. Whether you are evacuating or sheltering in your home, it will get VERY cold in the middle of winter in most areas, and you’ll need to be prepared. Here are some short-term tips and supplies you could get that can help.

  • Wear dry clothing, preferably made of wool. Wool clothing is insulating, water resistant, and keeps your body warm even if it is wet.
  • Wear a (wool) hat and gloves. You can lose up to 80% of your body heat through your head.
  • Wear insulated boots or shoes. You can also wear two pairs of wool socks or wrap a towel around the outside of your shoes to keep warmth in.
  • Wear layered clothing.
  • Wrap a scarf or towel around mouth to keep cold air from your lungs.
  • Share sleeping bags. Two people inside one large sleeping bag or two bags zipped together will be warmer.
  • Use your car heater if trapped in your car during a snowstorm. Run the heater 10 minutes every hour. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow and open one window a crack to allow ventilation.
  • Use mylar blankets or emergency blankets. Use a wool blanket between you and the mylar blanket if possible.
  • Store lots of hand warmers, survival candles, etc.
  • Wear thermal undergarments.
  • Insulate your clothing. Use leaves, newspapers, straw, etc. stuffed between layers of your clothing. If necessary use a plastic bag over top to hold the insulation materials.

If it is a long-term emergency, your best bet will be to get some sort of wood-burning stove or heater in your home to provide considerable warmth at least in one area of the house. If you have a generator you could also get electric heaters and use them as long as you have fuel.

Keeping Cool

While staying cool is more of a convenience, there are some safety real concerns with heat stroke and dehydration if you get too hot. Here are 50 ideas you can use to keep a little cooler when you don’t have access to air conditioner.

  1. Wear light-colored clothing, dark clothes absorb heat
  2. Use a damp cloth to wet face, arms and legs
  3. Find a cool breeze to sit in (especially after getting wet)
  4. Make a paper fan and fan yourself
  5. Hang out in the basement of your home
  6. Install attic vents to release the hot air that rises
  7. Sleep on the porch between wet sheets
  8. Relax during the hottest hours, do heavy chores/cooking in the morning and evening
  9. Do your canning and cooking outdoors
  10. Take an afternoon nap
  11. Use a buckwheat pillow, it won’t hold on to your body heat
  12. Close all blinds and window coverings (don’t let the sun in)
  13. Open all the windows at night to let cool air in
  14. Lie down on the floor in the lowest level of your house
  15. Keep a window open upstairs to pull hot air up and out
  16. Wet your hair
  17. Put white sheets over furniture, it will reflect heat instead of absorb it
  18. Wrap a wet towel around your neck
  19. Plant or find shade trees
  20. Take cool baths
  21. Make sure your home is well insulated, it will keep the heat out
  22. Drink lots of fluids
  23. Use a spray bottle and spray yourself down
  24. Hang wet sheets in open windows that have a cross breeze
  25. Keep babies in a light onesie (not naked) for when you hold them
  26. Dip feet in cool water
  27. Keep your body covered (in cool clothes) to shade it from the sun
  28. Don’t wear polyester, it makes you sweat
  29. Sit still, moving around makes you hotter
  30. Make recipes using mint/peppermint to cool the body
  31. Brush mint against the skin to cool you down
  32. Wear loose-fitting skirts
  33. Use battery-powered fans (like these ones)
  34. Put wet rags over a batter powered fan to make a “swamp cooler”
  35. Give the kids squirt guns and have a water fight
  36. Buy some evaporative cooling bandanas. These look so neat!
  37. Eat cold meals
  38. Eat spicy foods, they increase perspiration which cools down the body
  39. Buy some cooling towels/cloths
  40. Wear a large-brimmed hat to shade your face
  41. Spray your house down with a water hose for a temporary cool down
  42. Keep ice packs in your freezer and then use them for relief
  43. Go around naked (if appropriate)
  44. Use silk or satin sheets and pillowcases, they feel cooler
  45. Hang up bedding in cool areas of the house or shade during the day
  46. Get a waterbed, it will absorb heat and feel cool on hot nights
  47. Build porch awnings to provide shade
  48. Have a generator to plug in electric fans
  49. Make a homemade air conditioner or swamp cooler if you have a generator

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

If you are an emergency preparedness veteran you probably already have a lot of supplies on hand for sheltering and for keeping cool or warm as the seasons adjust. Your task this week will be to look at your inventory levels and also to make a plan to PRACTICE so you can determine what you are doing well on and what might still be lacking.

Tasks for this week

  • INVENTORY your shelter supplies. Is your tent big enough? Is it an all-season tent? Do you have enough sleeping bags for ALL family members? Are they low temperature sleeping bags?
  • PRACTICE setting up your tent. If one spouse usually does it, have the other spouse try to do it alone. Do you have all the tools on hand to set it up? Could you do it in the dark?
  • PURCHASE any items needed to round out your “shelter” plans.
  • Are you prepared to shelter in place? Print out some guidelines for safety precautions to take based on potential emergencies that could occur in your area (i.e. tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.)
  • INVENTORY your supplies for staying warm. What do you have on hand for evacuating versus staying home?
  • PRACTICE! Plan a camping trip for next winter where you go and live outside for several days. Try turning off the furnace for a few days this winter and see how well you can stay warm.
  • PURCHASE any items needed to round out your “keeping warm” supplies.
  • INVENTORY your supplies for staying cool. What do you have that will work for evacuating? What will you do if you are staying at home?
  • PRACTICE! Turn off the AC for a few days and see how will you do in the heat. Get your kids involved and think creatively on ways to keep cool.
  • PURCHASE any items needed to round out your “keeping cool” supplies.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

All-Season Tents: Pick a tent that fits your family’s needs and price range. There are many options to choose from. Camping stores have a lot, but we love Amazon for good camping supplies too.
Hand Warmers: Always a great little addition to your disaster kits, evacuation kits, and even to keep on hand at home. You can never have too many of these little things around.
Evaporative Cooling Headband: These headbands work by running them under water to activate the cooling properties. They are reusable and can make a huge difference in your temperature if you are out in the hot sun for extended periods of time.

Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

How to Make an Emergency Heater – from MomPrepares
How to Make a Coffee Can Heater – from Food Storage Made Easy
Homemade Space Heater that Works – from Your Own Home Store
DIY Solar Powered Air Cooler – from Survival Life

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Food Storage Do-Over Week 15: Powerless Cooking

We are excited to be starting week 15 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! We are getting close to the end of this adventure. If you didn’t catch last week’s post which talked about Sanitation and First Aid you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!


Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be working on a plan for powerless cooking. We always recommend starting with inexpensive or do-it-yourself cooking tools so you at least have SOMETHING to use in an emergency. Then as you practice and learn what your family uses the most, you can start to invest in higher quality tools over time.


In order to cook without power, you must have some sort of fuel. We love to use the sun as our main fuel source as much as possible, but if you don’t have a way to cook using solar power yet, here are some other fuel options for you.

For a printable overview of the common fuels click here.
For a video overview see below:


Do-It Yourself Stoves/Ovens

If you have empty #10 cans hanging around the house you can make a simple #10 Can Stove to use for boiling water or heating up just add water meals.

For a printable tutorial click here.
For a video overview see below:


If you’d like the option to cook baked items like casseroles, cakes, and bread you will need to make an oven. You can make an easy-to-use cardboard box oven that cooks using charcoal.

For a printable tutorial click here.
For a video overview see below:


Inexpensive Stoves

Any number of inexpensive camping stoves can be purchased at camping stores or from Amazon.com. Take a look at what fuels they use as that can impact your decision a lot.

Butane Stoves – We love these because you can cook INDOORS and store the fuel indoors. You can get about 4-5 cook hours out of one butane canister.

Cube Stove – This is an inexpensive little stove that burns fuel pellets. Lightweight and great to throw into 72 hour kits

Firebox – Similar to a cube stove but higher quality and folds flat. The design helps manage airflow so it is very efficient at conserving fuel. Lots of different fuels can be used in it.


  • Research these fuels and inexpensive stoves
  • Purchase or make at least one stove you can use
  • Accumulate a 30 day supply of fuel to cook on whichever stove you buy/make

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

If you are an emergency preparedness veteran you may have already looked into some of the larger, longer-term stoves and ovens. Here is a summary of the ones that we have and use ourselves. There are others out there but these are the ones we have the most experience with. Do your own research and find what will meet YOUR family’s needs.

All-American Sun Oven

If you can cook with the sun, it is going to be best bet for conserving your fuel. Solar power is renewable and unlimited, as long as it’s a sunny day! We use Sun Ovens as our primary cooking device and keep other tools as back-up for cloudy days.

View our webinar (and special offer) on the All-American Sun Oven by clicking here.
View an older video featuring the Global Sun Oven below:


Helius Rocket Stove

This is a heavy duty outdoor stove that can be used as an open fire or to cook with pots on top. It can withstand the weight of a full pressure cooker, and can keep temperatures constant enough for pressure cooking. Designed for fuel efficiency and to reduce smoke, this is a great little stove.

View our post introducing this stove by clicking here.
View a video introduction below:


Volcano Collapsible Grill

The Volcano Grill is a more portable stove and is very versatile in that it can use a wide variety of fuels for cooking. It can be used as an open fire pit, as a grill, for dutch oven cooking, boiling water, or even for baking if you have the “tent lid”. Great to throw in the car for a quick evacuation or camping trip.

View more details about the Volcano Grill by clicking here.
View a video introduction below:


HERC Tea Light Ovens

The HERC Tea Light Ovens solve the dilemma of how to BAKE indoors when the power is out. It’s not always feasible or recommended to be outside in an emergency situation. You can bake in these ovens using just a few tea light candles. The smaller “eco” oven works like a crock pot and uses ten tea lights. The larger “XXL” oven uses twenty tea lights and cooks like a 350 degree oven. Fuel cost is about $0.40 per hour and you can get 4 hours of solid cook time out of each batch of candles.

View post introducing these ovens by clicking here.
View a video introduction below:


Tasks for this week

  • Inventory your powerless cooking tools and fuel
  • Determine how long you could cook using the fuel you have on hand
  • Research some of the longer term stoves/ovens shown above
  • Purchase or make a plan to save up for any appliances you’ve been wanting
  • Organize your storage area so that your tools are easy to access
  • Make a goal to practice cooking without electricity at least one time per week this summer

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

ReadyFuel: This is a new product from Lindon Farms. It is a gel that can be used indoors or outdoors, and won’t freeze, evaporate, or melt. It’s very light and each packet contains a little metal sheet that can be turned into a holder for your pot. It’s a great little fuel for camping or small cooking needs like boiling water.
InstaFire: If you’ve followed our blog for a while you will know that we think InstaFire is a great product. It can be stored inside in convenient buckets, it burns in any kind of weather, and will even burn wet wood. It is handy to use in any kind of portable stove or even just on the ground. It’s definitely a nice supplement to go along with your other fuels.
Fuel Disks: There are a few companies putting out fuel pellets or pucks that can be used in stoves such as the Firebox, or Cube Stove. The disks can be re-used if you don’t use the whole thing. They are easy to burn but must be used outside. They store easily and conveniently indoors or out. They are a very efficient fuel with one pellet lasting for one hour of cooking.

Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

Types Of Fuel
Cooking Stoves
Global Sun Oven
All American Sun Oven
Fuel Disks
Butane Stoves
Wonder Box Oven
Dutch Oven Cooking Overview
Video: Powerless Cooking Event
Handout: Powerless Cooking Fuels Handout
Handout: Tutorial On How To Make A #10 Can Stove
Handout: Tutorial On How To Make A Cardboard Box Oven
Handout: Tutorial On How To Make A Wonderbox Oven
10 Ways To Practice Powerless Cooking This Summer

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Food Storage Do-Over Week 14: Sanitation/First Aid

We are excited to be starting week 14 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! If you didn’t catch last week’s post which talked about non-food items you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!


Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be working on evaluating our sanitation and first aid plans. There are a lot of ways to cover these areas so we will try to point you in the right direction to do your own research and come up with what works best for you and your family.

First Aid

If you are fairly new to the preparedness world you may not have a lot of first aid supplies stocked up yet. It never hurts to just purchase a basic first aid kit to at least get started. We saw this awesome more advanced list posted by Nancy over at the Preparedness 101 facebook group this week and wanted to share it here.

1) Sanitary pads for dressings
2) Roller gauze for bandages
3) Bedpan
4) Gloves (very sturdy for re-cleaning/sterilizing)
5) Urinal
6) Benadryl (allergic reaction)
7) Clove oil (tooth pain)
8) Superglue for lacerations
9) Washcloths
10) Oral analgesic for numbing
11) Ibuprofen for pain and fever
12) Nausea medicine
13) Pantyhose for bandaging any part of the human anatomy without tape
14) Plastic backed washable pads for bedridden patients/kids (can use alternatives)
15) Emergency dental kit
16) Anti-diarrhea medicine
17) No-more-tears shampoo for wound cleansing and general washing
18) Sheets for dressings, packing and slings

Notable things I left out:
- Bandaids (only for short term wound cover, your body will make you a scab)
- Tape (sticks to skin/ hurts to remove, gets old)
- Expensive drugs
- Peroxide, alcohol and Betadine -these wound cleansers are not needed and actually toxic to healing skin.

If you are interested in more natural styles of medicine you can look for ideas on our “Your Natural Medicine Cabinet” post. If you are looking for a more in depth list from a medical professional we recommend this “Nurse’s Fully-Stocked Medical Kit” post.


Having proper hygiene can make a huge difference to your health in an emergency situation. You need to have a plan for how to dispose of waste properly. You can buy a simple sanitation kit, or put your own together that includes these items:

• Two 5 or 6 gallon plastic buckets with tight fitting lids
• Two toilet seats that attach to the buckets
• Toilet paper
• Pre-washed and dried flannel, cut into squares, to use if toilet paper is not available—wash in hot water and bleach and re-use
• Paper towels
• Hand wipes, hand sanitizer and hand soap
• 13-gallon trash bags (to line toilets)
• 33- gallon trash bags (to dispose of smaller, used bags and other trash)
• Two (or three) spray bottles (for hydrogen peroxide & white vinegar, with the third for bleach)
• Hydrogen peroxide
• White vinegar (in a plastic bottle, if possible, to avoid broken glass)
• Borax and/or Bleach
• Essential oils and/or sprays for odor control
• Small funnel to fill spray bottles
• Shovel
• Heavy gloves (for digging)
• Disposable gloves (for cleaning)
• Face masks
• Copy of this sheet of instructions, stored in a plastic sheet protector
• Empty plastic jug (the kind you keep in the fridge) to hold water for hand washing

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

If you are an emergency preparedness veteran you probably have a lot of first aid and sanitation supplies on hand already. Let’s take some time this week to inventory, re-evaluate, re-purchase, and add to our supplies! Here are some action steps for you this week:

  • Make a master list of all the supplies you would like to store. Use our basic lists above or check out some of the helpful resources listed below for ideas.
  • Go through your supplies and inventory exactly what you already have on hand.
  • Make a shopping list of the items you need to buy more of. You can get some things for really cheap at the dollar store or big box stores. For more specialty items we like to shop at Emergency Essentials or Amazon.
  • Consider larger medical emergencies that may occur in a long term emergency situation. Buy extra supplies and learn how to deal with those (i.e. childbirth, how to do stitches, setting bones, etc.)
  • Sign up for a CERT class or attend some other first aid training in your area. If you can’t find a class you can check out the notes from a local class we took at our church on CPR and basic first aid.
  • Buy some books or print out instructions for basic medical care and store them with your supplies.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

dtmlady Family Sanitation Kit:
This kit is designed to fill basic bathing, dental, and toilet hygiene needs. Specially made for a family of four, the Family Sanitation Kit meets the basic hygiene needs you would have in an emergency or on a short camping trip. – See more at: http://beprepared.com/family-sanitation-kit.html#sthash.gdqMjpbV.dpuf
dtmlady The Complete First Aid Kit
The Complete First Aid Kit is a comprehensive kit containing everything you need to keep your home or office prepared for an emergency including many innovative products like Save-A-Tooth. The products inside are stored in unitized boxes to cut down on mess, and the box has a waterproof seal to prevent humidity or moisture damage.

Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

Basic CPR and First Aid Tips – from Food Storage Made Easy
A Nurse’s Fully-Stocked Medical Kit – from The Busy B Homemaker
Your Natural Medicine Cabinet – from Food Storage Made Easy
Printable First Aid Guide – from Your Own Home Store

Emergency Sanitation Kits Handout – from Food Storage Made Easy

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