Setting Goals for 2013

Resolutions are, for the most part, just to-do lists for the first couple weeks of January, right? But the beginning of a new year is a great time to set concrete goals for prepping.

Take stock of where you are right now in terms of preparedness. How much food, water, and supplies do you have on hand? Then decide where you want to be by the end of 2013.

Let’s say you currently have about a month’s worth of food stored and you’d like to have at least six month’s worth by the end of the year. You need to plan out how you’re going to reach that goal. In this case, it means putting aside another two week’s worth of food every month until the end of the year, while also maintaining your current stores. That’s very realistic, actually.

One of the major reasons why people fail when it comes to resolutions is they tend to set unrealistic goals. Or, the goals are too vague. Saying you are going to lose 75lbs by March just isn’t really doable for most people. But just saying you are going to cut down on drinking/smoking/cussing isn’t measurable either.

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. Three solid weeks of consciously doing something before it becomes second nature. Can you commit to three weeks of prepping?

Don’t forget soup mixes in your food storage

This time of year in particular, soup is just great comfort food. There just aren’t many things in life better than coming in from a cold, blustery day to a warm fire and a bowl of hot soup, is there?

When it comes to food storage, dehydrated soup mixes should be near the top of your list. Add water and simmer, it doesn’t get much easier than that.

Soup mixes are also very easy to modify to suit both your needs and what you happen to have on hand.

A brand we particularly like is Shore Lunch. It goes on sale regularly for around $2.50 a package. One package makes about 8 servings of soup, so there’s a pretty big bang for your buck. We’ll make the wild rice soup and add canned chicken to it for a little extra oomph. It is a thick, creamy soup that will stick to your ribs. Another favorite is the cheesy potato and we’ll add crumbled bacon to it.

Of course, no survival pantry would be complete without some ramen noodle soup. We usually add an extra cup of water to help cut down on the sodium.

Really, there is an almost endless variety of variations to basic soup. These dehydrated mixes give you a good base and you can modify them however you’d like.

The really nice thing though is when stored in dry, cool conditions, these soup mixes can last for quite a long time.

How to spend your Amazon gift cards

Did you get an Amazon gift card for Christmas? Aren’t sure what to get with it? No worries, Jim’s here with some recommendations. I believe all or almost all of these books are available both as hard copies as well as for the Kindle.

ASHFALL and the sequel, ASHEN WINTER, by Mike Mullin are both on my personal Top 10 post-apocalyptic reads for the last several years. The plot centers around Alex, a teenage boy who seeks to find his family after the Yellowstone caldera blows. Exceptionally well written, both books will keep you up for hours.

THE SURVIVAL MOM by Lisa Bedford is, in my opinion, one of the best books available for those just starting out with prepping. Written conversationally, it avoids doom and gloom and instead focuses on what the average family can do to be better prepared for whatever might happen.

BUILD THE PERFECT BUG OUT BAG by Creek Stewart is likely the best book out there on the subject. Crammed with relevant information, you’ll refer to it again and again. What I particularly like is how Creek not only gives you suggestions of specific items to carry, he explains why you want them and how to use them in the field.

BUILD THE PERFECT SURVIVAL KIT by John D. McCann differs from Creek’s book in that McCann gives you information on how to assemble a wide range of different kits, from a small Altoids tin to a full-blown evacuation pack. Where this book truly shines is how innovative McCann is, showing you how to repurpose many items for survival.

THE PREPPER’S POCKET GUIDE by Bernie Carr is a wonderful little book. No fluff, no filler, just a ton of practical information on things virtually anyone can do to be better prepared for whatever life throws their way.

THE DOOM AND BLOOM(tm) SURVIVAL MEDICINE HANDBOOK by Dr. Joseph Alton and Amy Alton remains my most recommended book on the subject. I am unaware of any other medical book that is written specifically for preppers and contains anywhere near this amount of information. Everything from first aid kits to childbirth is covered.

Last but certainly not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my own book, PREPPER’S HOME DEFENSE. Security is an integral part of any survival plan and it involves a lot more than just amassing a butt-load of guns and bullets. While no book exists that can take the average Joe and turn him into a Navy SEAL, what I’ve tried to accomplish here is give you the means to stack the deck in your favor, come what may. Most readers seem to agree that I met and even exceeded that goal.

Merry Christmas!

We’d like to wish all of our readers and customers a very Merry Christmas. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then please still have a joyful and happy day today and tomorrow.

Without you guys, this blog wouldn’t exist so I’d like to thank each of you for stopping by to spend a few minutes to see what I had to say on a given day. You guys and gals are awesome!

Have a great holiday everyone. We’ll see you later this week.

The end of the world…or not

Well, as of about 10AM CST, the dreaded Mayan apocalypse has been much ado about nothing. Not that we really expected any different. I don’t think I know a single person who was realistically prepping for the apocalypse (or whatever) that was predicted for today.

Worst apocalypse ever

I am, however, grateful for all the media attention in the last couple years that’s been focused on the Mayan prophecy. I think it played a big role in getting prepping to become more mainstream today. Anything that will get more people on board is great, as far as I’m concerned.

Prepping is, or should be, a lifestyle rather than a goal to be met. While many of us have our pet theories on what might be coming down the road, we should be prepping for whatever might happen, including an apocalypse predicted thousands of years ago.

If nothing else, look at this whole Mayan thing like this. Let’s say something major was supposed to happen but efforts behind the scenes averted it. If that were the case, then we’ve all been given a gift of more time.

Use it wisely.

Redundancy is Key

There are several catchphrases in the prepping world.

“Store what you eat, eat what you store.”

“First in, first out.”

The one I want to talk about today is, “Two is one, one is none.” This saying originated in the military, though reports differ as to which unit started it. In essence, we’re talking about redundancy.

For any survival task or goal, we should have multiple means to accomplish it. Example — having one lighter or one pack of strike anywhere matches isn’t enough. We should have both of those, plus a flint striker, a magnesium bar, and/or a battery with steel wool.

Noted author and survival expert Ragnar Benson calls this the Rule of 3s. Have three distinct ways to accomplish a given task. Why? You could lose or break your primary and your backup.

Here’s how this works.

For shelter in your survival kit, have two emergency blankets, a trash bag or light tarp, as well as paracord and other items to cobble together an expedient shelter in the field.

For blades, have your primary sheath knife as well as a pocket knife and a multi-tool.

When it comes to signaling for help, a cell phone, a whistle, a light stick on a cord, and a signal mirror are all great options.

To purify water at home, have a filtration unit, bleach, iodine, the means to boil water, and some pool shock.

The whole point is to have backups for your backups. Better to have too many than be lacking the one thing you truly need.

Winter Driving Tips

Well, given that my area of the country is looking at a major snowstorm in the next couple days, I felt it was time to give out my winter driving tips.

First off, SLOW DOWN! It is far better to be a little late than never get there at all. Keep in mind your driving also has an effect on the people around you. Just because you think your 4×4 monstrosity is fully capable of staying on the road and going 60mph in a blizzard, when you go screaming past the mom with three kids in their little Honda Civic you stand a good chance of running her into the ditch.

Pay attention to the drivers ahead of you, as well as behind you. Leave yourself extra stopping distance as much as possible. Watch for brake lights, just in case.

If you have a cell phone, keep it charged in case you get stranded. A wise investment is a car charger for your phone. However, when you’re driving in bad conditions, you shouldn’t be blabbering on your phone at the same time!

Don’t forget to keep your vehicle emergency kit stocked and ready to go in case you need it.

If you end up having to drive during or after a freezing rain, you can gain a bit of extra traction by keeping partially on the gravel shoulder. As your tires go over the gravel, the ice is broken up. In a pinch when you’re stranded, you can use your vehicle’s floor mats under the tires for traction.

Stick to main roads and highways as much as possible. They are the ones that will be cleared first. If you come across a plow, stay behind it until you need to turn off, even if it means going slower or taking a more roundabout way home.

Be careful and attentive. Take it slow and easy and you’ll be fine.

Family Illness — Just One More Reason To Prep

One of my boys is down with the flu this week. High fever, chills, achy, just generally miserable. We’re hoping he’ll be doing much better by Christmas, and also praying our other boys don’t come down with it.

Caring for sick kids is tough. Even more so when one or both parents are sick as well. About nine or ten years ago, we had the stomach flu come raging through our house right around this time of year. We had gone to my grandmother’s on Christmas Eve and one of the young kids there apparently was sick. It hit my wife and I both late Christmas night. I found out later just about every adult who had been at the party came down with it at the same time. For the next couple days, we were both put down hard. Our eldest was only about two years old at the time and thankfully he didn’t catch it but let me tell you, taking care of a toddler while battling the stomach flu is no picnic.

There are so many families out there today who keep hardly any food in the house, I have to wonder what they’d do if both parents were ill and unable to run to the store.

Family illness is just one more reason to prep. If you have at least a few days, preferably a few weeks or months, of food and supplies on hand, the family can concentrate on feeling better rather than stressing about running out of toilet paper, white soda, and chicken noodle soup.

It is also a great reason to teach your kids how to prepare simple meals on their own. It doesn’t take much to be able to warm up a pot of soup or make some macaroni and cheese.

You might mention this topic to those family and friends who think preppers are crazy. Ask them how they’d handle a situation where the adults are down for the count and unable to go get tonight’s dinner at the store.

Preppers Under Attack

Over the weekend, several media outlets have reported Nancy Lanza, murdered mother of killer Adam Lanza, was a “survivalist” and alluding to the possibility that this is what at least partially led her son to kill 20 young children and a handful of adults last Friday.

Here is one such story by the UK’s The Daily Mail. From the article — “Friends and family portrayed Adam Lanza’s mother Nancy as a paranoid ‘survivalist’ who believed the world was on the verge of violent, economic collapse.”

If the reports about stockpiling food and such are to be believed, then yes, you could definitely categorize Nancy Lanza as a prepper or survivalist. No doubt about it.

Personally, I’ve met more than a couple of survivalists in my time who, if they have kids, I shudder to think about their upbringing. While more than 99% of the preppers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting online and in real life appear to be level-headed, intelligent people, there are a few whack jobs out there.

Y’know what though? I’ve met some pretty goofy attorneys too. More than a couple doctors seem pretty “off” as well. Now that I think about it, there have even been a few really weird factory workers.

Saying preppers are bad because the child of one did something that was truly heinous is like saying accountants are bad because the child of one killed a family while driving drunk.

We are consistently being given mixed messages. We have government agencies like FEMA telling us to make a plan, get a kit, be prepared. At the same time, we have other agencies saying preppers are akin to terrorists and need to be investigated for their actions.

Ironically, one of the biggest pushes in this country in recent years has been to be politically correct and not judge someone due to their race, their sexual orientation, their religion, or pretty much any other means of categorizing human beings. Personally, I happen to believe in that. As I’ve said before, within about ten seconds I can find all sorts of reasons to not like a person that have nothing to do with their physicality or background. But, at the same time, the very same media that tells us to not judge people is casting blame on the entire prepping culture because one kid who obviously had some pretty serious issues did something horrific.

I have to wonder how many reporters in say the last twenty years killed anyone while driving drunk.