Tag Archive: parenting


Lately I have been taking stock of my ‘stock’ (read that preps). Admittedly, I have included my children in getting prepared, but I didn’t realize just how much THEY did not understand the importance of organization, labeling and rotating. Yes, two are under 12 but one is a teenager who is into prepping. We talk about how to store things, what and why we keep extra on hand, safety, the value of being able to be less reliant on the ‘just in time system’ and a whole lot of other things. And many times we work together getting things done or they see me doing it with some help from them. Prepping with children as a single mom has brought up some interesting things, but when I started making extra room in my house to include another person, whoa! I just wanted to bug out and not deal with it…but, here I am, learning and hope that in my learning you can learn something too, especially if you are a single parent with children.

First, I realized just how much ‘crap’ is in my house that has really no value to me, but that’s another subject. Next, I realized that things had just been put behind closed doors so to speak to, just get it out of the way, and instructions were just NOT followed. And before someone has something to say about ‘kids being kids’ I am going to tell you that I am old school and believe that when an adult gives specific instructions on what/how to do something YOU DO IT. Not that I am trying to turn my kids into sheeple and not that I am not open to their ideas of how to get things done, but when you are told to pour the salt into a particular container and then label it, I expect it to be done. Put it in and label it and then put it in the spot I have set aside for it.

HAHAHA…I started cleaning/reorganizing and I found things stashed away like a squirrel stashes his nuts for the winter. Some of what I found was big bags of RICE just tucked away in a storage closet (seriously, that is NOT a joke). That was my teenager. Instead repacking the rice safely, he disappeared the containers and then stashed the rice.

Haha factor aside, I did not find this amusing at all and then I began to wonder about other things and sure enough, Mr. I Play Video Games, had not labeled salt containers or sugar containers, had just thrown can goods haphazardly into the pantry…sigh…really? And yes, I stood over him and things got done but really? At almost 16 years old I have to do that to make sure it gets done properly? Lets just say a few things ‘disappeared’ on him and I told him point blank that if he couldn’t follow simple instructions and put things away properly then how was I supposed to trust him with a crossbow or driving a car. Anyway…My 9 year old at least knows how to put green beans with green beans and to put the oldest up front. Sigh…so the past two weeks has been spent back tracking. Oh, I also found empty boxes that were never thrown away (so I assumed we had that in stock). Really? My 3 year old know how to throw things away.

There were quite a few things I found ‘out’ about, mostly just annoying things but if the little things like putting labels on buckets (so you know what it is), or putting the rice into mouse/bug proof containers or just throwing away an empty box of something can’t even be done, ohhhh…man, my mind just goes nuts over that one.

So what’s my point?

Everyone has to be on the same page at all times and understand the reasons behind why certain things get done. And just talking about it isn’t going to work with some people. Written instructions, establishing routines and expectations and then, being ‘the leader’, following up every time until you are dead sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. And unfortunately, having worked in the real world, I have seen this same behavior from ‘adults’. Time consuming? Yes. Pain in the rear? Yes. Should you as ‘leader’ have to micro-manage. No. It would be nice to be able to delegate, but most people are used to ‘getting by’ with little to no consequences to themselves. This go around it was just proper food storage. And we can all go to the what ifs, but it got caught in time. So micro-manage I will until I am sure that we are all on the same page on how things will get done.

Ideas for the micro-management/leader that does work well for both children and adults:

Get a whiteboard…the type you can list ‘to do’ items on daily. Save your breath.

Get another whiteboard…this one won’t be daily but will list chores/responsibilities for the week. Unfortunately, even adults need this (ever worked in a restaurant?).

Have a sit down/write down meeting. In this case, with my 3 children I was able to explain WHY it was important about storing food correctly. THEN a notebook came out and the steps were written down. They took turns writing out the steps and reasons why. In my case it was about food storage, but this will work in any type of situation that you see come up or MIGHT come up, including security tasks. And YES, children can help on that end too. At this sit down ask questions instead of lecturing. You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Don’t overlook abilities. Some people are better at something than others. SWAT analysis is a good thing. Unfortunately, you may find yourself (as in my case with my children) that you have to work with what you got. My case, kids  which means I have to work with what I got, including the attitude.

Have a CLEAR system and keep it simple. Chaos is NOT good! For instance, one place I keep proteins, another certain types of canned goods, another place salt, sugar and another for rice. Its in the same place all the time (that is until someone decides to just do it their way). But I do have a system in place. This allows you to know instantly where certain things are (for instance I have ONE place for all batteries and ONE place for all types of lighting except for candles). By having a few things here and a few things there you wind up wasting time and energy ‘looking’ for things.

Speak up…don’t be afraid, as the ‘leader’ to say what you have to say when it needs to be said. I will admit it, when I found things not done correctly they, my kids, were in the middle of doing homework…guess what? They wound up redoing what they were supposed to do instead of the homework and opps! The homework got done when typically they do what they want to do. Seems to make the impression to just get it done right the first time.

Lastly, DO follow up to make sure things are being done correctly. Don’t make it obvious that you are doing so but just check. If done correctly…give praise (yep, that includes adults too), if not done or not done correctly stop right then and there and do what needs to be done. Food storage case I pulled the bags of rice out, put them on the counter top, called my son into the kitchen and stood there until I SAW him doing it. Then said thank you, walked away and then rechecked a bit later. Done right.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today (well, everyday it seems). Discipline and order and a system and being on the same page with everyone when things are ‘normal’ makes it easier when something comes up later on.

Now, back to clearing out the crap!

Advertisements

Lets talk…seriously, lets have a dialogue here and now about personal responsibility because at the heart of being ‘prepared’ is the idea of personal responsibility and taking responsibility for your future. Is personal responsibilty dead? Not for those who are ‘prepared’, not for those who deal with life on life’s terms… Its not about fear, its not about being afraid of the unknown nor being angry with politicians or corporations nor about feeling like the sky is about to fall in, though certainly these can all be catalysts and a spring board for wanting to be prepared and personal responsibilty is often at the heart of people doing the right thing…(is that why we are so fascinated with the news? are we looking for those who are responsible? examples that justify us in not being responsible ourselves?) It is well known and understood that human beings are generally self-seeking, self-centered and very short sighted…we would do well to remember that this is part of immaturity and that as we age, we are somehow supposed to outgrow this and become ‘mature’, meaning, we become ‘responsible individuals’ and personally responsible for our actions or lack there of and not expect to remain forever in a state of immaturity. The mature adult is rational and can see outside of him/herself and can see beyond the immediate, in the now, moment and can rise above base impulses sent forth from the reptilian part of the brain that seeks only to ensure its own survival and pleasure (though it is useful in dangerous situations!) It seems to me that over the past few decades, that many people have abdicated their personal responsibility in making responsible choices that not only take into account their own wants, needs and desires but those with whom they interact either directly or not. We as a people have chosen, even subconsciously, to allow others to take of us and decide what is in ‘our best interests’ and to ‘make’ us safe for whatever reasons so that ‘we’ may just listen to that part of the brain that tells us ‘if it feels good do it’ and not have to worry about our future and instead, be continual children under the hand of a parent. For some, it is out of necessity because we/they simply struggle to make ends meet and can’t for a moment look up and raise their voices…for others, it is because they made choices and decisions that put themselves in a position where they couldn’t say anything or do anything to help themselves, others, it is simply because they are too wrapped up in ‘getting ahead’ or simply don’t care because, after all, they are ‘safe’ and don’t do anything outside of the ‘norm’ and they aren’t ‘responsible’ for everyone else, aftger all, that is why they vote, so that others can speak for them…the list of WHY people have abdicated their own responsibility for their own lives is long and never straight nor simple. And many of, even though we are, in general, very responsible adults, sometimes make mistakes that cause us to abdicate our personal power/responsibility…to err is human and to gain wisdom is divine from our mistakes…to keep on making these mistakes, well, that would mean we aren’t responsible now wouldn’t it? Now, these are bold statements and may make you angry or sad…and you can disagree on the reasons why I feel that we are a nation of people who have abdicated personal responsibility to others, but we must admit, if all of US and that includes corporations, groups of individuals down to individuals have or had consistently taken personal responsibility for ourselves and actions, then we wouldn’t be living in a country that has a penal system that has exploded, with a social services system that can’t cope, with unemployment running rampant, with big government and regulations strangling businesses and people feeling the need to take to the streets in protest out of anger, frustration and finally waking up to fact that they have been asleep at the wheel for too long and now there is a train wreck in their front yard. Regardless of where you fall politically, religiously, ideologically…regardless of your race, color or creed, the core of being an productive member of society is personal responsibility and doing the ‘right thing’. I am not here to argue the finer points or details, merely to express that personal responsibility is ‘ours’ and ours alone and that as individuals we cannot and should not expect others to take care of us and mind the chickens that we have. To expect others to protect us fully and with our best interests at heart is to invite control over our lives. To expect that others will ultimately know what is best for us and ours is to invite intrusion into our lives and potential upset when we disagree or finally decide that we know what is best for ourselves. To give up our rights as individuals in the name of ‘safety’ is to invite control into our lives that destroys our rights. But to expect that we can do whatever it is that we wish to do without consequences or that someone else will take care of it also invites control of our lives by outside forces. With rights come responsibility and that responsibility ultimately rests on our own individual shoulders and begins with personal responsibility. And THIS is ultimately what is at the heart of anyone who prepares for whatever situation that comes into their lives. It is a guiding force that no one and nothing can take away from someone. To be a responsible individual you cannot go on wild spending sprees with credit cards and then not pay the bill. You can’t be a responsible individual and drink and drive…you can’t just eat whatever you want and then wonder why you have diabetes later on in life and you can’t NOT VOTE and then complain when a new law comes down taking away your right to own a fire arm or complain because you don’t like how things are handled. Personal responsibility is ACTIVE not passive. Personal responsibility is not just about you but in seeing the big picture and how your actions will have an impact upon others and then making a decision that will harm the fewest people and places and is in the best interest of all concerned without prejudice. (And yes, we do have that responsibility to have the wisdom to see how our actions may or may not support others that is part of being a grown, mature adult, its about not just thinking of ourselves). And collectively we should be responsible too…however, that is not the point of this blog article, the point is that the chickens are coming home to roost…for too long, too many have abdicated their personal responsibility, placing their trust, like a child, into people with whom they also placed their futures and now face reality or not. For those of us who are personally responsible for ourselves we prepare for life on life’s terms, we do not hand over our lives to strangers who may or may not have our best interests at heart, whom, for whatever reasons, may have agendas that suit their own sense of ‘personal responsibility’ but that may not match our own. When we recognize we may have made a mistake, we don’t run from it nor expect someone else to clean up our mess…we get into it, make amends and do what we can to remedy the situation and then get up and go forth, hopefully never to repeat the problem again. We, as personally responsible people seek not to force our opinions upon others, but make our opinions heard and then allows others to form their own opinions, whether we agree with them or not and keep on going. We support ourselves, don’t expect help but ask for it when we truly need it…we do what we can, when we can to minimize the help we need, but we are not infallible fortresses, one-man armies nor an island. We can see when others need our help or opinions or perhaps some sound advice and give it, not to engender them to ourselves but give them a hand up so that they too, may become personally responsible. And we are personally responsible in that we do no grievous harm to others or at the expense of others merely to promote our own well-being or that of our group. At the heart of someone who prepares for life and whatever may come, ie a prepper, is someone who sees and understands the wisdom of personal responsibility and then does something about it. Is personal responsibility so ‘out of date’ that it has become radical and thus something to be feared? Or has it been out of fashion for so long that to be personally responsible for ourselves, our family, our friends and our country and our world is something that we have lost the ability to be so? I think not, for to be personally responsible is a minute to minute, day to day choice and that is why growing numbers are becoming ‘preppers’ or being more prepared. Personal responsible gives one personal power and alleviates fear and calms the stressors in one’s life, is that something to be feared or mocked or marginalized…no, and I am proud to see more and more people in this world, for whatever their reason, becoming more responsible for themselves and their loved ones and becoming prepared to face what life will throw at them in the coming years. It need not be scary nor something that only radicals do, for truly, its all about personal responsibility.

And it begins with me…

Asking…what if?

Then I start to answer those what if questions and do my best not to assume that a parental hand will come along and pat me on the back or tell me…it will be okay…for I am my own parental hand and it is my personal responsibilty to take care of myself, voice my opinions, think not just of myself but of others too and then do what I need to do to be that hand for myself. It may include saving money for a rainy day, it may include getting extra food into the house. It may include educating myself on the ways of handling minor medical problems and having the tools on hand to do so (not to mention getting the wisdom to know when I can’t do it myself). It may include thinking ahead and planning for those those times that others can’t behave themselves and it most definately means that I act not as a child would in response to external events.

It is my sincere wish that anyone who has read this has a light bulb turned on within their own heart and mind and it is my prayer today that maybe, just maybe, that I have helped someone turn the page and begin to realize that they need to be more personally responsible, not just because its the wise thing to do and it will ‘save themselves’ but because it is the right thing to do in all of our interests and perhaps, just maybe, this will, in the end, save someone’s life and help all of move peacably past the turmoil in our world now.

And I really have to ask…what would the world be like if most people were personally responsible?

I grew up in a family where we kept months of basic food stuffs on hand and only went ‘shopping’ 2 or 3 times a year and yes, this included toilet paper, dog food and laundry detergent. My father was a Reservist and we didn’t have access to the commissary all the time, so we just ‘stocked’ up when he was ‘on’. At the time, I didn’t think anything about it, but my mother tells me that this was drilled into their heads by the military during the ‘60’s ‘just in case’… so it was natural for me to carry this behavior into my adult life, even when I was living on the edge as a young mother and wife in my early 20’s. You just kept food in the house beyond your immediate needs. You only went to the grocery store to get bread, milk and eggs twice a month. I was just what I did and I was very happy to have that mindset in me as I started my own businesses…I always had at least a month’s worth of food on hand and tried my best to have more, but never let it fall below that level…you never knew or know when or if ‘pay-day’ would come and you have to eat right? So I was quite comfortable with my food storage even though I wasn’t a prepper, it was just the prudent thing to do given the circumstances of my life. But over the past few years, and especially this year, it has really come to my attention that our way of life here in this country is in a very precarious position and looking at my ‘storage’ which seemed so smart to me just even a year ago, I now realize just how unprepared I am/was when it cames to food storage and even I must do something to ‘fix’ that to be prepared for more than what I am now.

For those needing help in getting started, I have made some suggestions below to get you started:

Getting Started:

First, check your mindset: If you are not running to the grocery store every other day then you are probably already ‘storing’ food! Perhaps only for a week at a time, or even for just a few days, but you can take that and turn it into a solid food storage mindset and easily start extending that time out of what you already do to ‘store’ food. Instead of 6 cans of green beans that week, get 8. Instead of just 1 package of rice, get two and so on and so forth. Start looking into bulk storage items such as ‘staple’ dry goods or cases of canned goods that you use regularly this if you can afford it. Sam’s Club and Costco are great places to buy in bulk (just be aware that sometimes they aren’t the cheapest).

However, if you don’t already keep more food in the house than is needed on any given day then you need to ask yourself why you don’t keep a bit of food beyond the cheese-its on hand.

Ask yourself this:

What would happen if a storm hit and you couldn’t get out? Being a part of the stampede at the market before a storm hits isn’t too smart is it? Long lines, not enough food available and can be dangerous in the wrong conditions.

What would happen if you lost your job? Having a bit of food on hand for this emergency can save you money and give you a peace of mind that is priceless.

What would happen if your sole source of transportation (car) broke down or you couldn’t get gas?

Next I want you to think about these things:

Remember Katrina? There were people who DID all the right things, had extra food, water, basic first aid and STILL had problems surviving after a week.

Look at what is and what did happen inJapanin the aftermath of the earthquake and resulting tsunami…the shelves CLEARED in less than 6 hours and this country was considered ‘prepared’.

Then look at the list below:

Natural Disasters
Terrorism
Labor Strike

Economic Depression/Collapse
Drought
Crop Failure
Personal Tragedy
Civil Unrest

Unemployment

Inflation/Hyperinflation

What would you do if any of this happened to YOU? Do you really want to be apart of the horde that descends upon the Walmart or local grocery store? Or have to ‘get in line’ just to eat? I don’t mean to be a fear monger, but these things DO happen and they happen almost everyday somewhere in the world. You buy auto insurance, medical insurance and all sorts of ‘insurance’…just think of storing extra food as ‘insurance’…after all, without food you can’t live! So next time you are out, just pick up an extra meal or two. Get in the HABIT. Its pretty easy once you get going.

Now that you are getting the mindset…

Get a plan!

With pen in hand and paper in front of you (or your keyboard)…figure out what it is that your family LIKES TO EAT on a regular basis. Fresh fruit and veggies? Heavy meat eaters? Rice and pastas? I am not referring to fast food or convenience foods (though they do have a place in your food storage plan), but what I am referring to is this: what does your family eat if you MAKE the food yourself?

Staple items such as cereal, milk, rice, beans (or not), pasta, vegetables and meat will make the ‘core’ of your food storage preparations and you need to know what they are…my family doesn’t do beans that much so I won’t be ‘stocking’ up too much on these, but we do eat meat, so I spend my money ensuring meat and the occasional beans.

If you don’t cook yourself and rely upon convenience foods, take out and such that is okay! There is a solution for you too! Just figure out what types of foods you like to order  or pick up to eat at home (or microwave at home).

Make the LIST of your most common foods, from this list will come all your food storage items. List the drinks, the bread (if your family does sandwiches or eats rolls), the types of veggies and fruits, diary products, etc. You want a list that would show your dietary habits.

After the ‘LIST’ is made you then need to sit down and make another list…this time I want you to write down all the condiments that you use daily and even occasionally…ketchup? Salt? Vinegar? Spices? Mixes? The little things in your food life that often times we overlook as ‘using’ and being a part of our diet.

With both lists in hand you can then move onto the next stage of planning…just how much do you use and of what in any given week? (you can then plan from there on how much to buy and of what). This might seem challenging at first to figure out, but a simple way to figure this out is take the time to think about what your meals over the past week have been…this will give you a good idea of ‘how much’ you use in any given week, if need be, write a family food diary for a week, noting the ‘what and how much’. This even works for those of you who eat out a lot or use a lot of prepared food items.

For instance, if you eat cereal for breakfast each morning…how long does a box last for you or your family…1 week? A few days? A month? And don’t forget the milk! If you eat sandwiches and soup for lunch each day (lets say on the weekends) then how much do you use for you or your family? 1 can? 3 cans? For dinner, lets say you eat a steak, rice and salad with a veggie on the side or baked potato. How many steaks? How much rice? How many potatoes? You get the idea now…even if you eat out a lot or bring home meals that are ready made from the grocery store or buy those TV dinners you still know what is in them and you know what you like to eat. Just write it down. What is in your normal meal?

If you are into meal planning then figuring out what you will need should be easy. If not, make the lists to figure out what you need to get started. We can worry about drilling down to the details later.

Put your list into action!

With both lists in hand now you are ready to get going on your preparedness food storage…you know the basic ‘what’ and about how much without too much effort exerted. An extra box of mashpotatos, a few extra cans of green beans, an extra bag of rice, canned meat if you are meat eater. If you are a shopper who makes ‘lists’ when you go shopping, pick up an ‘extra’ of each of the basics you buy each time you go out. If you coupon or shop sales, more the better! Saving money is a great way to go and get prepared at the sametime.

For those who don’t know how to cook from scratch or don’t cook at all, go with can goods and MRE’s or other prepackaged meals that all you have to do is add water, like the ready made meals that many campers use. You can google MRE’s or camping food to find out where to get these. Walmart sometimes carry them in their sporting goods section. Ebay and Amazon are good places to look also as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods. But only buy what you KNOW you will eat. Or maybe its time for a change in your habits…learn now how to cook and prepare food yourself, only you can make that judgment call. But don’t let the fact that you can’t or don’t cook stop you from storing food.

Don’t try to do it over night, each time you go to the store add to your storage. Make a goal of having 3 extra days worth at first, then a weeks worth, then a months worth. Just keep at it. I understand that for many it may be hard to find the extra money to be able to store food…use coupons, shop sales, buy in bulk, cut back on fast food, eat a ‘cheap’ meal. Examine your expenses to find the extra money. It is there if you look. Do what you can when and where you can. If you find meat at a reduced price then buy all that you can afford and either dehydrate it or freeze it for food storage use. But make the commitment to have your food storage ‘just in case’. It will give you peace of mind by taking one less worry out of your life if something were to ever happen.

There are lots of ways to prepare your preparedness pantry…some people buy in bulk and store large quantities of ‘raw’ food stuff such as wheat, powdered milk, rice and beans and gather freeze dried foods in #10 cans. Others pick and choose between store bought items (can goods) and ‘raw’ food stuffs, #10 cans and canning and dehydration (this is what I personally do). Others go with can goods only. Others still go the MRE route entirely and there are a whole host of in betweens. No one ‘way’ or ‘type’ of food is perfect for everyone. That is why I ask you to make a list of what you normally eat and then buy that for your food storage.

 

REMEMBER the GOLDEN RULE OF FOOD STORAGE!!

 

Get what you will use!  people have this funny habit of NOT eating when they aren’t used to eating it. In fact, children will starve themselves rather than eat something unfamiliar. If you don’t eat beans, don’t get beans, if you don’t eat pineapple then I don’t care how good of a deal it is, it will go to waste and don’t fall prey to the ‘this is what is recommended’ food storage guidelines that are found everywhere. Store what you use and eat ONLY…it can’t be repeated enough…if you won’t it eat or use it, then you are wasting your time and money. As a by-product of getting what you will eat and use, you will also gain a sense of comfort and stability when things aren’t so good. Familiarity gives a sense of well-being that is priceless, and this includes food too!

At this point I should address something. If you like to eat bread or like ‘fresh’ veggies or fruit and want to incorporate pressure cooking or baking into your food preparedness plan, I will offer this caution. Learn to do it now and stock up while you are learning how to make your own basics. I can tell you that making breads and canning is more difficult than it seems and I applaud those who can do it with the grace and ease that escapes me at the moment. So for right now, I am buying a bit of the ‘from scratch’ basics and putting more money and effort into getting what I know I can cook with with ease until I am sure that I know what I am doing with the ‘basics’. This goes back to the ‘get what you will use’. If you can’t or don’t know how to use it then it will not be used.

General Guidelines for Food Storage

Once you are getting into the swing of the food storage mindset and acting upon it you will need to use the following guidelines:

If you decide to buy in bulk such items as wheat, dry milk, rice or other such items (dry goods) then be sure you have containers and packaging ready when you get home to put them into storage. There are a few ways to store dry good long-term such as bucket, mylar bags, air tight plastic containers, mason jars etc. You will need these items if you store in bulk. Do your research to select what will work best for you, your needs and what you will be storing.

Learn proper storage techniques: general rule of thumb, no extreme temperatures, no moisture. Food lasts longer the cooler and dryer it is.Think about where you can store your food storage. Your cabinets and pantry will get full. Think about the garage, under beds, in closets…I know some people who even put can goods behind books on the book case! Get creative.

LABEL your storage with what it is and date you put it into storage. This is especially important for bulk storage.

Rotate your food storage! The MOST IMPORTANT thing I can tell you about food storage is that it is necessary to ROTATE your food. Use the container (or can or package) that’s been stored the longest and replace it with newer stored containers behind the older ones. Food storage that spoils or lies untouched is garbage. This is especially important if you are freezing any items such as meat or buying frozen veggies. Don’t waste your time, effort and money by forgetting to ROTATE YOUR FOOD! Develop a method to rotate your food that works for you. Use what you store…this helps to rotate the food so you don’t waste your time and money.

So that is the ‘get you started’ basics in food storage. It is really just about recognizing the need, figuring out what you do eat and then getting a little more than you normally do. If you can afford to do so, do it quickly and if you are like me, do it one trip at a time, one item at a time as you can afford to do so. Just get started.

This is a ‘come over’ from my survivalmedicineblog.com site- sorry for the repeat facebook fans 🙂 but I thought it would bear a reappearance on this one too!

Many preppers and survivalists focus on the beans and bullets aspect of being prepared. They often just say ‘get a good first aid kit’ and call it good. Some go so far as to say get medical equipment and stockpile antibiotics, there are many ideas about what a ‘good’ kit is and list upon lists of what you will need in the event you are ‘forced’ to go it alone in taking care of your own healthcare needs…and then their is the camp that goes so far as to get the training or finds doctors and nurses to include in their ‘group’ But let’s face it, the fact is this: most of us wouldn’t know what the heck to do with most modern medical supplies or medicine or how to propperly use anything beyond a basic bandaid…even if we could our hands on more than the basic band aid and topical cream. Training can be expensive and/or inconvient and hard to come by and sometimes, doing things we have no idea about is more dangerous than doing nothing at all. And most doctors and nurses I know (including my own family) are not preparedness fans let alone self-help types, they rely upon the system and just can’t grasp the idea that being prepared beyond 3-7 days is something worth while. Yes, there are professionals out there who ‘believe’ but again, let’s face it, most don’t.

I am all for having a good first aid kit and modern medical supplies that I am comfortable using, I am also a big one on avoiding doctors and modern medical intervention whenever possible (and my family is FULL of doctors and nurses!)  A lot of my attitude, admittedly, comes from years of not having medical insurance and not exactly being made of money. I was ‘forced’ into finding alternatives in caring for my health needs and just how much I can indeed handle myself.  Over the years, I have become pretty well versed on caring for myself, family and friends and have found that alternatives such as herbalism, homeopathy and essential oils can, when used correctly be just as effective if not more so than modern medicine. I fully recognize that there are limitations to these alternatives and when necessary seek out modern medical intervention, but I have also come to recognize that many of our most basic healthcare needs can be met at home and through the use of alternatives.

There are basic ‘rules of the road’ to taking care of yourself and family that are actually easy to follow if you dare to try it. It’s a mind set mostly, and I hope that you something useful from them that will help you get ready for whatever may come-

Simple rules of the road for taking control of your health needs:

Sanitation/Hygiene– this should be a no-brainer but many infections are spread through bad hygiene habits. Keep your hands clean (either the hand sanitizers or good hand washing with soap and water…and if all else fails, use a baby wipe!) Keep all food handling and prep areas clean. If someone is sick, keep them isolated. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have come home from school sick or I have gotten sick because someone came to school or work sick when they should have stayed home. Make sure you are as clean as possible with your own body and if you get a cut or scrape…clean it asap! Same goes for bites and other wounds…simple, through cleaning of wounds, bites, hands and surfaces goes a long, long way to preventing infections and make sure after helping someone who does have an infection that you wash your hand BEFORE AND AFTER helping them…and by the way…keep your hand out of your mouth, nose and eyes. And for goodness sakes, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper or cleaning up vomit, clean up! Basic stuff folks, but extremely important to prevent infections and disease and in a situation where you are mostly or completely on your own, this ‘simple’ mindset/action could be a life saver.

Be Vigilant and Pay Attention– this is another no-brainer, but I know that many of us get so caught up in what is going on around us that we simply don’t pay attention to our bodies or our children’s behavior (most children will not ‘complain’ or the complaint is very vague). Pay attention to how you feel physically…if you feel warm (without a good reason) or there is pain somewhere, take the time to check it out. If your children are whiny for no reason take the time to find out why. If you child is listless or flushed, take the time to figure out why. If you are tired for no ‘reason’ take the time to figure out why. If there is a little red around a wound or any heat around an area, take the time to take care of it. My point is this, in many instances the body lets you know one way or the other that something is up and the sooner you pay attention to your body and what it is trying to tell you, the better off you will be and the sooner you can do something about it. Time is of the Essence- this goes hand in hand with being vigilant and paying attention…the faster you start doing something about the issue, the less likely it will turn into a life threatening situation. This also goes to preventing things from happening…don’t put off doing what you need to do toady in order to help yourself, from taking care of that cut to fixing that fence or filling up the gas tank…be prepared! Don’t let it go ‘until’, in a SHTF situation, letting it ‘go’ might get you dead…help could be forever in coming, far away or non-existent, so get on it immediately. And one last thing on this subject of being vigilant and paying attention- keep your eye on what is going on around you health wise…lots of coughing? fevers? there might be a time that you being watchful and mindful of your ‘health’ surroundings could save your life (think pandemic) or at the very least, keep you from getting sick yourself.

Have the Knowledge and Experience Beforehand to Help Yourself– it does no good if you stock up on supplies, medicines, herbals, homeopathics and books if you don’t know how to use them, aren’t comfortable using them and don’t know where to find the information in those books that you have spent so much money on when you need it…take the time now to try simple remedies and simple self-medicating/self-help techniques so that you are familiar with them and comfortable in handling a non-emergency situation on your own. After all, if it doesn’t work, you still have plan B…intervention of your doctor (at least for now).  Trying to learn and practice self-help under stressful situations is a disaster waiting to happen. Do it NOW so that you feel confident and sure of yourself…but also note this… Its all well and good to think, ‘well, if the SHTF I will just grow my own medicine’ or ‘I have the book on that! I will be okay!’…many herbal plants need to be grown for several years before they can used. Did you know the best time to harvest? To plant? How to identify them in the wild? Dosage? How to actually use them? Tinctures take 6 weeks or more to make and teas are used for one thing, decoctions for another and tinctures…well, they can be used in a million and one ways…also, will you even try to make your own? Or stock up on pre-made remedies and plants? homeopathic remedies can actually produce symptoms (called a proving) if they are not the correct remedy and some essential oils (just like herbs) can interact with pharmaceuticals, and some essential oils are caustic when used undiluted on the skin or membranes and some oils are best used without dilution…do you know what to do in case an oil gets in your eye or someplace else it doesn’t belong? How to store the herbs, homeopathics and oils? see, you need the knowledge, practice and experience now, before you really need it, so that in a bad situation you are ready to take care of yourself without undue stress. Doctors and nurses trained for years, why not you? Self-care is learned through practice, practice, practice and not just reading about it once.

Be Persistent and Committed! I will be the first to admit that much of the self-help outside of modern medicine is tedious and time consuming and it is definitely not like having to remember to pop a pill once a day and it may not necessary repress symptoms while it is solving the issue at hand. It takes time, effort and a commitment to helping yourself get better without outside intervention in order to make it ‘work’. Often, self-reliance in taking care of your own healthcare matters means doing more than ‘taking’ something. It takes a willingness to take care of yourself and that may mean not doing it all, nor expecting a miracle to happen over night. It may mean that you have to stop what you are doing that seems so important at that moment and doing several things in order to stop a problem before it becomes a problem. Even modern docs now recognize that lifestyle changes, eating habits and exercise patterns are better at preventing many health problems than taking a pill and that just ‘taking’ something often doesn’t ‘cure’ the problem. Be patient, follow instructions to the T, including how much (more is definitely NOT better) and how often to do or take something. Just like most modern medicines that we use today, if not taken correctly it can either harm or not help at all…both of which are not good. Commitment yourself to being self-reliant, learning and being persistent and you will be in good shape for what may come.

Do Not Get Overwhelmed– for many who were raised to be dependant upon the system for their every need in their well-being, it can be scary to break away and become more self-reliant in taking care of their own needs. It can be a daunting task when you first begin to investigate or even begin to take care of yourself and healthcare needs. But by taking it one-step at a time, one thing at a time, one need at a time, and making ‘easy does it’ a part of your mindset you will soon be amazed at just how much you can be in control of your healthcare needs.

Just like most other aspects of being prepared and prepped, you don’t have to do it all at one time and remember, you are not alone…ask for help and make friends who know more than you about it and just do it, make it apart of your preparedness lifestyle and in the end, even if it doesn’t hit the fan and the world suddenly does an about face and everything comes up roses, you will be better for taking control of your own health and well-being.

And lastly, recognize that sometimes you won’t be able to take care of yourself and you might need to ask for help.

PS…if you have a life threatening illness already, by all means necessary, try to stock up on your medication and supplies that you need to take care of yourself…sometimes there is a need for modern medicine…but I also encourage you to do a bit of research and see what else might help you to reduce your dependence upon modern meds. NEVER ever stop taking your medication and switch over to an alternative without the help of your doctor…I love my alternatives but am wise enough to know their limitations.

God bless

Preparedness and Parenthood

I get strange looks sometimes when I buy big bags of rice, or 4 packages of diapers or 6 12 packs of toliet paper (all at one time), and sometimes those looks aren’t from strangers. The poor UPS guy who delivers in my rural town (who must think I am sort of crazy survivalist) has delivered, this past week alone, a 50 lb bag of organic hard white wheat and boxes from Auguson Farms and 50 lbs of DE (amongst other things like a huge box of diapers, but that was Fed Ex and that guy knows for sure I am crazy). But its all good. I am just doing my duty as a good parent to ensure that my children are and will be taken care of no matter what. I am making sure that they will have what they need just in case something happens to my income or one of us gets hurt and can’t work or something happens that disrupts supplies (think storms, floods, pestilance of the crops, heck even the banks collapsing). Down where I live, when hurricane Isabel came through, they had no power for 10 days…there were reports of people stealing chickens and killing goats after 3 days…yep and that was just a little bitty hurricane. No power, no grocery store. And those great big trees across the road? well, that would kinda keep you at home wouldn’t they? and the county surely has bigger problem than my road, so no deliveries or movement for several days…but I digress…

When you are pregnant with your child you plan. You start thinking of all the things you will need for the precious child that you will be having soon in your life and next thing you know…you are getting PREPARED! You buy the crib, the car seat, clothing, diapers and any number of a million and one zillion things. You are getting ready for a life altering event…the end of the world as you know it right now…the birth of your child. You pick the hospital, your doctor, make arrangements ‘just in case’ this or that happens, you get your family involved (or not). You start making plans for what you will and won’t do after your baby is born, breast feeding or bottle feeding? Stay home or go back to work or even work from home? Daycare? All these decisions are called making plans which is part of you getting prepared for the arrival of your little one. Preparedness can be so much work! But you know these things that you are prepping for make a good parent…planning, preparing, getting things… being ready for him or her when they arrive and your world changes. Next, after the arrival of your new baby you realize just how much you don’t know about this thing called ‘being a good parent’ so you start asking question and doing more preparing for when they begin to sit up, eat solid foods, crawl, walk, talk. You have to get your house ready after all don’t you? Not to mention get all the information you can lay your hands on so that you can make informed and sound decisions about how you want to raise your child…this is all part of being a good parent. It just goes on and on this getting prepared for your child and it changes, evolves overtime to fit, upon demand, the circumstances and stages that you see coming down the road for your family as your baby grows and circumstances change. A good parent has…foresight, knowledge, leadership skills and techniques, tactics and supplies on hand for whatever may come at any given moment and sometimes, in a strange or odd moment…wisdom from past mistakes…Sometimes things just take you by surprise…can you say forgetting the diaper bag anyone? (this why you put a couple of diapers under the drivers seat)…or a fall or accident (speed dial and first aid kit) or someone notices that you are busy paying attention to something else and sticks the half chewed dog biscuit in the dvd player, managing to close it too…(say bad language and a screw driver when you find it later that night) but that is okay, you have thought things out enough to feel confident that when it happens you handle it with grace and ease (or freak out first, quickly regaining a shred of self-control). But my whole point is this…you planned and prepared yourself into being a good parent!

So, I, ever wanting to be a good parent have just taken things a bit further…preparedness is being a good parent. Being ready for when the crap hits the fan, in whatever form it may come to your door step, (think going into labor!) is being a good parent.   Having things on hand ‘just in case’ or for an emergency, is being a good parent (extra this or that, tools) and most certainly having a means to protect your family is being a good parent. It might seem a little strange at first, this new aspect of being a good parent, simply because you haven’t do so before. But that’s okay, you’ll get over it. You will gain a new sense of pride and confidence (hmm sounds just like what you feel as you get the grove of being a good parent!) as time goes by. You will find that you are less anxious and worried about the future. You will find that this new aspect of being a good parent will actually help you become a better parent as you gain skills in being self-reliant that will be passed onto your child…indeed, preparedness and parenting go hand in hand…and it is all part of the job.