All Posts by Chloe

3 Types of Emergencies That Could Happen to Anyone

Not every situation that requires you to be prepped is a doomsday scenario. There are 3 common emergencies that could happen to anyone, but all of the racket from the bunker in Survivalistland can sometimes drown them out. This can make getting started pretty intimidating, paralyzing, even.

Maybe you’re brand new to prepping and not sure where to start. Maybe you aren’t really interested in emergency preparedness but your well-meaning in-laws keep sending you links to websites about the topic.  Maybe you go to those websites and you see so much doom and gloom that you immediately exit. Maybe you say to yourself, “Holy cow, no!  I’m not one of those crazy Doomsday Preppers!”  Maybe you’re the in-law sending the articles and you’re looking for a tamer article to send.

If any of the above apply, then this post is for you.  It’s chock-full of links, supplies, resources, and information for those who are new to preparedness that may not be ready to dive in 100% just yet.

Prepping for Beginners (and Non-Preppers Who Like to be Sensible)

It’s all about what I like to call “prepping-lite”.  It’s for people who aren’t into apocalypse scenarios but who are sensible enough to realize that, well, stuff happens. Remember, prepping doesn’t mean you’re a doom-and-gloomer. It’s actually the ultimate act of optimism!

There are three types of common emergencies that can strike nearly anyone.  These don’t require that you systematically pick apart every episode of The Walking Dead so you can figure out how to survive the impending zombie pandemic. They simply require that you flip on the news every now and then and see that these are everyday situations that can happen to us all.  And since you are wise enough to accept that these things are realistic things that could, at some point, affect you, I hope you’ll take that wisdom one step further and prepare for them.

Water Emergencies

The last year was a bad one for water emergencies. Remember the chemical spill in West Virginia that left hundreds of thousands of residents without safe water for a more than a week?  The toxin in the water was so potent that it couldn’t be used for bathing or basic cleaning, much less consumption.  Shortly after that, more than half a million people in Cleveland, Ohio were left without running water because agricultural runoff caused and algae bloom that tainted the municipal water supply.

In both of those situations, store shelves were rapidly emptied of water in every form. Families who didn’t make it to the store on time were left to drive for hours to find water, or to wait while the National Guard rationed out bottles. In either case, some water preparedness could have eased the crisis. Here’s what the average family can do to prepare for a water crisis:

  • Fill containers and store them.  Be sure to opt for food-safe containers that did not hold milk or juice, as this can cause a bacteria growth in your stored water.
  • Store some 5 gallon water bottles.  Be sure to either have a top-loading dispenser or a manual pump for ease of using the water in the event that the crisis goes hand-in-hand with a power outage.
  • Get a gravity water filter.  We also carry small personal filters in our everyday carry kits.

Weather Emergencies

After the abundance of snow that has fallen this year, most of the United States can relate to the possibility of a storm affecting day-to-day life. People have been watching store shelves get cleared, digging their way out from under several feet of the white stuff, and getting stranded at home for days at a time.  Even worse are the hurricanes and superstorms that cripple entire regions of the country, taking out power lines, damaging roadways, and shutting down businesses.

To be prepared for a weather emergency, you should have the following:

Water and water purification supplies

See the section above.

Food and a way to cook it

There are two schools of thought regarding food during a power outage.  One: you need a cooking method that does not require the grid to be functioning.  Two: you can store food that doesn’t require cooking. If you opt for a secondary cooking method, be sure that you have enough fuel to last for a while.  Store foods that do not require long cooking times – for example, dried beans would use a great deal of fuel, but canned beans could be warmed up, or even eaten cold.  A rocket stove that can use many different types of fuel is an excellent and flexible choice.

Heating or cooling without electricity

If your power outage takes place in the winter and you live in a colder climate, heat is another necessity.  During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require back-up heat at this point in certain climates.  If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of wood.

Consider a portable indoor-safe propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area. Make sure to have CO monitors that will work without electrical power.

Emergency Lighting

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

  • Garden stake solar lights
  • Long-burning candles
  • Kerosene lamp and fuel
  • Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
  • Hand crank/solar lantern
  • Don’t forget matches or lighters

Tools and supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Super glue
  • Sewing kit
  • Bungee cords

This is the bare minimum of the tools you’ll need. Feel free to expand on the basic supplies.

Financial Emergencies

This is very different from the other types of emergencies.  It’s undeniable that our country has seen an economic downturn that shows little sign of improvement on the horizon. Many people have suffered their own personal economic downturns due to job loss, unemployment or a higher cost of living. As well, smaller emergencies can crop up. Maybe your refrigerator gives its last hurrah. Maybe your car’s transmission gives up the ghost. There are all sorts of issues that can cause money to be in short supply.

We had our own personal economic crisis 5 years ago when I lost my job. I was unable to find a new job right away, and had to wait more than two months for my first unemployment check to arrive.  Luckily, I had a full pantry and linen closet, as well as a small emergency fund stashed away. The full pantry meant that I didn’t need to take money from my emergency fund for things like groceries, shampoo, and school supplies. The emergency fund meant that I could still keep the utilities on and pay the mortgage even though money wasn’t coming in.

To face a possible personal economic crisis, buy extra food and supplies that you normally use when you see them on sale, and put them back for a rainy day. Consider making some adjustments to live more frugally so that you can put a rainy day fund away.  Hopefully disaster never strikes, and you simply have a savings account and some extra supplies.

An Open Letter to Single Parent Preppers

Dear Single Parent Preppers:

If there’s one thing I know about, it’s taking care of things by myself. If you’ve been a single parent for a while, you know exactly what I mean. You’re the breadwinner, the disciplinarian, the homekeeper, the chef, and the decision-maker. If you’re new to being a single parent, hang on to your halo, because there are definitely going to be some adjustments to life as you know it.

And if generally holding down the fort isn’t enough work, add to this, your preparedness efforts. When folks think about family preparedness, they usually consider the traditional family unit, with two parents, some children, and maybe a grandparent.  Often, it seems like single parent preppers are completely overlooked in these scenarios.

Even worse, when you do see an article about prepping as a single parent, it’s nearly always written by a married person and is a rehash of a prepping 101 article, advising the storage of emergency food and  some extra water.  You know, because if you are divorced, widowed, or otherwise single it wouldn’t occur to you to read a general prepping article or book. You’d only be seeking an article with the word “single mom” in it.

Ever since my first daughter was born, almost 21 years ago, I’ve felt that it was my responsibility as a parent to plan ahead for emergencies so that I could provide her with security no matter what life threw at our family. In fact, it was my husband’s job loss when she was a month old that sent me down the path of preparedness in the first place. (You can read the whole story about how I got started prepping here.) When I became a single mom of two daughters 13 years ago, it didn’t lessen my commitment to being prepared. If anything, I found that it was even more important.

Unfortunately, I have read some pretty discouraging things out there in Internetland that make it seem like single parent preppers are fighting against terrible odds, which is what compelled me to write this letter. Little aggravates me more than reading articles or forum posts that belittle entire groups of people or that serve to make people feel like their efforts are for naught. While not all of the posts are this judgmental, I’ve even had readers go off on uninformed tirades about what a horrible person I am for not being married, insinuating that a single mom is less than moral and speculating about the reasons even though they are completely ignorant of the situation.

And it isn’t just divorce or widowhood that can put you in the position of being a single parent prepperThere are a growing number of people who straddle the line for a variety of reasons. Some are the spouses of our military members who have been deployed overseas. Others are forced to live separately when one spouse finds employment too far away to return home each night. There are families in which one parent takes the majority of the responsibilities due to something that affects their spouses: chronic illness, addiction, or mental health concerns, to name a few.  These semi-single parents face many of the same issues as single parents do, and these are topped off with additional worries about the well-being of their spouses.

Please remember this: whether you are a single mom, a single dad, or any other single individual in charge of children, your efforts are incredibly important.

Ignore those people who tell you otherwise, because folks who are so narrow-minded may actually discover that they are the ones with the limitations that get in the way of survival. We are accustomed to gritting our teeth and adjusting to the situation because we have no option.

While single parenthood was certainly never my plan when I dreamed about being a mom, it’s not as horrible as some folks make it out to be. Sure, there are difficulties, but every parent on the planet has difficulties. Perhaps your family is having money problems. There could be a chronic illness. You may hate your job because your boss pats you on the butt when no one is looking. Maybe your kid has behavioral issues. Your day might not have enough hours to get everything done. None of these problems are unique to single parenthood.

The lives of single parent preppers aren’t all bad.

There are a few things about it that are actually kind of nice.

First of all, you never have to persuade a partner to get on board with preparedness. A frequent issue with couples is that one person is more involved or dedicated than the other. In some cases, the prepper family member actually has to hide purchases and preparedness expenditure from the non-prepper family member. The extent of the family’s preparedness endeavors is entirely up to you.

In the event of an emergency, you don’t have to waste time discussing your decisions. While it’s great to have another person to bounce ideas off, sometimes you are flying purely by instinct. The ability to immediately respond to an emergency situation can often mean the difference between life and death.

The children of single parents can’t play one parent off the other to the same extent. Some kids like to ask one parent for permission, and if that parent says no, they try again with the other parent. As the only game in town, we don’t have any of that nonsense. It’s merely annoying in good times but could be downright dangerous if the situation changed in the US.

There’s no need to come to an agreement on how much to involve the kids.  Some parents feel the kids shouldn’t have to worry about doomsday scenarios and thus, keep their preparedness activities completely on the down-low. Other parents believe it’s essential that the children develop a preparedness mindset from an early age.  When parents disagree about what is best for the children, it can cause a lot of tension in the household.

Kids from single parent households are sometimes more independent.  Of a necessity, kids in single parent households have to help out more.  They aid in caring for younger siblings, they get dinner started, and they have a few more responsibilities. (I’m generalizing, of course – each family has its own dynamic.)  This additional responsibility often results in kids that are highly competent and independent, and these qualities can really help out in a survival situation.

Of course, the life of single parent preppers is not all sunshine and roses.

Sometimes I get really tired of running the show completely on my own. Sometimes I sincerely wish there was another person on the planet who cared about the welfare of my children as passionately as I do.

If you can’t do something, you either have to learn or hire someone. In a two-parent household, there are often clearly defined roles, and if one parent isn’t efficient at a particular task, the other parent might be better at it. I can do minor repairs and MacGuyver with the best of them, but I’m not good at building things or doing more mechanical repairs. I’ve picked up a lot of skills out of sheer desperation (anyone need a drain taken apart?) but, if I need something done that requires a lot of strength or know-how, I have to hire someone to do it for me.

No one else will take care of your kids like you will.  This isn’t the case in all single-parent situations. Some folks have a good co-parenting arrangement, which is very beneficial for the children. But in other situations, the other parent is absent, irresponsible, or deceased. And that means that it’s all you. Every single decision that affects their welfare, every dime of money that comes into the house, and every mama-or-papa bear moment in which you must defend your children rests on your sturdy shoulders.

No one has your back. In a situation where home defense is necessary, you may find yourself all alone to protect your children if you are without a partner. So, you must train, learn self-defense skills, practice at the range, and train some more so that if a day ever comes when you have to, you will be able to defend your babies. The idea of a middle aged mama going Rambo might sound silly, but that’s only to people who don’t think the way we, as preppers, think.

If something happens to you, what will happen to your children?  This is a tremendous concern for me. I’m the only living parent of my children.  As such, I don’t participate in risky hobbies (no skydiving for me, thank-you-very-much) or speed in the car or have unhealthy habits like smoking.  It’s imperative that I be healthy and strong and able to finish raising my children, because there is not one single person on the planet who will unconditionally adore and protect them with the same motivation that I would. Thinking about the possibility of leaving my children orphaned keeps me up at night, because I am the only game in town.

My advice to single parent preppers

Most of the advice I would give to a single parent who is interested in being prepared is exactly the same as the advice I would give to anyone else. Stock up, be frugal, learn skills, and be alert. You know, the normal prepper stuff.

But there are a few things that a single parent family should pay special attention to, perhaps a little bit more than families with two adults.

1.) Don’t let your tasks be defined by gender roles.

There’s no room in a single parent’s life for stuff like “I’m a tough man, I don’t bake bread” or “I’m a helpless woman, I can’t change my own tire.”  You can, and you will, especially if you intend to survive in a long-term emergency.  There is absolutely nothing written in your DNA that precludes your ability to do certain tasks that are normally undertaken by the opposite sex.

The major exclusion to that would be physical limitations. While I’m pretty strong, there are some things that I simply can’t do because I’m not strong enough and in the last few years, I’ve had some back problems that would be exacerbated by doing stuff like chopping wood.  For those things, I use physics whenever possible, moving things with levers, for example. When all else fails, I hire someone to do those things for me. And speaking of needing help sometimes…

2.) Make reliable friends in your community.

I have quite a few like-minded friends that I can call on when I need a hand.  I don’t invite just anyone to my home, so it helps that some of the folks I know and trust are handy.  It’s good to have someone on speed dial that can aid when there is an emergency. There may come a time when you need someone you can trust to look after your kids, help you with a difficult repair, or push your vehicle out of the mud.  If you have family around, this may solve your problem. Otherwise, look for folks who share your views on the world. A friendly neighbor is always a good thing. Be ready to help out others when they need a hand, and build relationships with folks you can rely on if the need arises.

One caveat: unless you know people very, very, very well, never let them in on the details of your preps. OPSEC, baby.

3.) Be vigilant about security.

Out of all of the suggestions I’m giving, this one might apply more to single moms than single dads. (Of course, everyone should pay attention to home security.)

Some unsavory characters see a single woman and think: TARGET ACQUIRED.  They feel that a woman alone with kids will be more vulnerable, simpler to overpower, and easy pickings. Even worse, some see a mom alone with kids and want to victimize the children.

If you only follow one piece of advice in this article, make it this one: DO NOT BE THAT EASY TARGET.

Make your property as secure as possible with better locks, warning signs, barriers to easy access, and visible deterrents. My property, which is rural, is posted with no trespassing signs. I have cameras and warnings about those cameras. My welcoming committee is comprised of a 160 pound guard dog. Then there’s a 70 pound dog in the house. Then, if someone gets passed the gate and the dogs, there’s Mama, armed to the teeth.

You don’t want to be a delicate flower. You want to be Sarah Connor in the Terminator 2: Judgement Day. She trained to become a bada** because everyone was out to get her son. Become that mom.  Your children are depending on you, so you must train as though their lives depend upon your abilities.  Because some day, their lives might.

4.) Teach your children to be self-reliant.

Your kids may need to be a little more mature than kids in two-parent families. Although I think it’s a good idea for any kid to be able to feed themselves, keep themselves warm, keep themselves safe, and defend themselves, it becomes even more important when there’s only one adult in the house.

A difficult lesson for me was when my youngest girl and I lived up North in a cabin only heated by a woodstove. Initially, I wouldn’t let my daughter go near the stove because I didn’t want her to get burned. But then someone pointed out, “What if something happened to you and because the power was out, she couldn’t get a call out for help?  You live in a climate where she would freeze to death in just a couple of days without a fire.”  So, my pre-teen learned to build a roaring fire in the woodstove and maintain that fire, all on her own. Yes, she got a little burn when she bumped her arm against the door of the woodstove, and I felt like an awful parent for putting her in that position as she cried in pain. But…I would have been a more terrible parent if I hadn’t prepared her for something that could cause her death in an emergency.

Make sure that as soon as they’re old enough your children become competent in the following things:

  • Doing laundry
  • Doing dishes
  • Preparing simple meals
  • Taking care of pets and/or livestock
  • Keeping things tidy
  • Cleaning
  • Running the various systems in the home: the heater (whether it’s wood or controlled by a thermostat), irrigation for the garden, off-grid lighting and power, kitchen appliances, etc.)
  • Caring for younger siblings
  • Driving (as soon as they are old enough)
  • Firearms if you have them (When they’re young, keep your firearms locked away and make sure they understand the rules about not touching them if they happen to be out. When they’re old enough, begin instructing them in using firearms safely.)

You can gently encourage self-reliance by the entertainment that your kids are exposed to. We like watching movies or programs together that have independent kids or (since I have girls) strong female characters that can kick bootie.  Since I have a family of bookworms, the books that I bought my girls were often those that inspired an independent spirit.

5.) Make sure that your children know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

For example, we have bug out lists printed up. My daughter has a list and I have one so we can pack twice as fast. A couple of years ago, when the King Fire was nearly at our door, we were ready to go in just a few short minutes. By having a responsibility, the kids can focus on those tasks, which can help keep them calmer and more productive.

And, worst case scenario, if something happens to you, they need to know who to call, or if it occurs during a situation in which no help is available, they need to know how to take care of themselves and any younger siblings until such a time that an adult can step in. If they have the skills listed above, they’ll be far less likely to panic in such a situation.

6.) Make some things easy.

Sometimes, you need to take shortcuts.  I’m all about low-tech, cooking from scratch, raising my own, back-to-the-land living. However, I can’t do everything all the time. No one can, and when there is only one adult, it becomes even more challenging. Remember, you are only one person.

Have some things that are easy. There will be days when you don’t feel like grinding wheat with the manual grinder, baking a loaf of bread, and doing everything from scratch. There will be days when your kids have to fill in for you. For those days, have some things that are a little less challenging.

  • Keep some easy-to-prepare meals in your stockpile.
  • Have some wood set aside that is already split if you heat that way. Prep food ahead of time, at the beginning of the week so that leftovers are available.
  • Prep food ahead of time, at the beginning of the week so that leftovers are available.
  • Set up your watering system for the garden so that it’s automatic – that way no one can forget.
  • Likewise, automate as much as possible the feeding and watering of your animals.
  • Keep laundry and housekeeping under control, so that if you have to take a few days off because you are sick or injured, the household can still continue to function.

There’s no shame in taking shortcuts from time to time. If you constantly work yourself into exhaustion, it’s far more likely that you’ll get sick. Speaking of which…

7.) Take care of yourself.

When you are the only adult, it can be easy to get caught up in the grind of a constant struggle. There were several years that I worked so hard to make ends meet that my health suffered, I lost my sense of humor, and I rarely got to spend “fun” time with my daughters. It was grim indeed, but it taught me some valuable lessons.

You absolutely must take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Your health is even more important than ever before because you have a child or children who are depending on you. If you burn yourself out, eat poorly, develop a stress-related chronic illness, or injure yourself, then you won’t be able to take care of them.

I call it the “flight attendant theory of child rearing.”  When you’re on a plane, they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. This is for the simple reason that if you pass out from oxygen deprivation, there will be no one else to help.  The same holds true with parenting in general. If you constantly care for others without a thought for your own well-being, you can become so drained that you are no longer able to help anyone.

  • Don’t overcommit yourself. The most freeing thing I ever did was learn to say no. I limit the number of commitments we have because there are so many people that want a piece of our time. We all get pressured to do things like volunteer at the school, drive kids back and forth to extracurriculars and social events on a daily basis, and take on extra projects at work. You absolutely have to learn how to say no to some of these obligations if you expect to have a few minutes for relaxation or time for your own projects.
  • Eat properly.  One of the biggest pitfalls of a busy life is taking too many shortcuts with regard to nutrition. Keep healthy food on hand at home instead of going through the drive-thru for dinner. When I worked outside the home, I found that a weekend food prepping session was essential for keeping us on track throughout the week.
  • Take time for exercise.  Many people have a sedentary job that keeps them sitting at a computer all day long. Take time throughout the day to move around. Inertia can take its toll. (Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.)  Enjoy a walk during your lunch break and coffee breaks.  After work, do something active with your kids. If you are taking the kiddos to an activity, instead of sitting in the car playing on your phone while they are doing gymnastics, use that time to take a brisk walk.  This will keep you healthy, flexible, fit, and actually increase your energy levels.
  • Stop to smell the roses, especially those made by sticky little fingers from cotton balls stuck to construction paper and sprayed with stinky perfume. One day, they’ll be grown up and out of the house. You truly don’t want to look back on their childhoods with regret that all you did was grimly work to keep a roof over their heads.

Are you a single parent prepper?

You absolutely can do this. Lots of us do. Don’t let the naysayers discourage you. Don’t feel that it’s too difficult. Every single step you take toward greater preparedness is a step toward making life safer and more secure for your children.

Forget Doom and Gloom: Preparedness is the Ultimate Act of Optimism

Does this sound familiar?

You’re talking to a friend or family member who isn’t on board with preparedness.  (And it’s even worse when they think they know what’s going on in the world but garner their so-called “information” from network news sources.)  You try for the millionth time to get them to consider stocking up on a few things and they say this:

Life’s too short for all of this doom and gloom.  Live a little! You’re such a pessimist!

My response to this is that preparedness is the ultimate form of optimism.

One who practices skills, makes dramatic lifestyle changes, and studies current events critically may come across to the uninitiated as a person who has buried himself or herself in negativity, but in fact, one who prepares is saying to life, “Whatever comes, we are not only going to live through it, my family is going to thrive, and I will not bend my knee to tyranny for an MRE and a bottle of water.”

I think that methods of preparedness can be compared to love songs on the radio.  Bear with me through this analogy.

If the songs that make you think of your significant other are sad, with reference to breaking up and getting back together, unsatisfied yearnings, arguments, frustration, anger, and broken hearts, you just might be doing the whole “love” thing wrong.  Shouldn’t the song that makes you think of the one you love be happy, upbeat, full of joy? Shouldn’t thoughts of that special someone make you more prone to goofy smiles and a warm glow than to melancholy longing or the urge to gleefully burn all of their belongings in a great pile in the front yard?

It’s exactly the same with preparedness.  Thoughts of your plans, your lifestyle, and your loaded pantry room should give you a sense of peace and security.  If your state of preparedness makes you feel unhappy, stressed, angry, or resentful, you’re doing something wrong.

Here are some examples of how prepping is pure, unadulterated optimism:

  • Your area is under a severe storm warning.  While everyone else you know is rushing to the store and knocking over old ladies to clear the shelves, you’re tying down some outdoor furniture, filling the bathtubs with water, bringing in  some extra firewood, cooking up some stuff that would be likely to go bad during an extended power outage, and getting the candles and lanterns ready. Perhaps you are discussing with your kids why you’re doing what your doing and using it as a teachable moment.  There is no panic, only the peace of mind you feel when you don’t have to try to get things that everyone else is trying to procure at the exact same frenzied moment.
  • During this hypothetical storm, the power goes out for two weeks, water is under a boil order, and trees are down everywhere.  You remain in the safety of your home with your family, not risking downed power lines and falling branches from storm-damaged trees.  You heat up hearty meals using off-grid cooking methods with which you are already familiar.  You spend the two-week break playing boardgames, reading books, doing art projects. You have plenty of food, plenty of water, and plenty of light. To your kids, this is an adventure and to you, it’s a little break from your regular work and from technology.
  • Heaven forbid that you should lose your job, but if you did, you have the security of a supply of food to see you through. You know how to grow your own food to supplement this supply because you’ve been doing it for years. You know a million different ways to do things manually and save yourself money.  While a loss of income is a crisis, for someone who has readied themselves for the possibility, it could also be an opportunity to seek a new job, to homeschool the kids, to start a business of their own.  If they don’t feel that horrible sense of desperation, realizing that the mortgage payment is coming out in 3 weeks, and they don’t have the money to pay it, the utilities are already close to being cut off, and there are 3 slices of bread in the house, with two of them being the crusty heels that nobody wants to eat, then the person is a little more free to search for the silver lining.
  • One fine summer day when you are enjoying a barbecue at a friends house, you listen to other folks complaining about the cost of produce at the grocery store due to the droughts and poor growing conditions across the country.  You realize that you haven’t purchased a single vegetable since your spring lettuce and peas prolifically came in, and you had absolutely no idea that everyone else was paying double or triple what they paid last year for a bag of baby spinach or a pound of tomatoes.
  • If someone you know falls on hard times, you are always able to lend a hand with a bag full of groceries that came directly from your pantry.  You don’t even have to think twice about helping out, because you are prepared for the long haul.

What non-preparedness people just can’t seem to understand is that what we seek is peace of mind, freedom, and security for our families, not just a weekend at Disneyworld.  We don’t wish to delude ourselves with the soothing lies and distractions of the mainstream media so that we can blithely go about the business of trying to guess which B-list performer is going to take the crown (do they have a crown?) on Dancing with the Stars. We like reality and we’d rather not have surprises.  We can still have fun that doesn’t compromise our ideals, sabotage our progress, or deter us from our paths.

We don’t want to be lulled into a false sense of prosperity, hypnotized by our iPhones and our “smart” wristwatches, or pacified with governmental lies about the “recovery.” We don’t want to deal with the aftereffects of shooting poisons into our babies, the ill health that comes from eating substances that aren’t even food but are guaranteed by the government to be “safe”, or stumble through life in a fluoride-induced brain fog.

We just want to go out to our garden and get some unsprayed heirloom tomatoes, for crying out loud, and thrive on real food, clean water, and an avoidance of Big Pharma chemicals.  When I look at my own rosy-cheeked child and compare her glowing health with that of her friends, I am thankful every single day that we take the extra steps to keep her nourished, toxin-free,  and whole, in defiance of a government and media that would have her chemically dumbed down and poisoned, literally, for profit.

Here’s a final analogy.

Imagine that you are out for a walk, and you get lost in the woods. You end up wandering around for a couple of days, and you’re exhausted and hungry.  You come upon two bushes, different varieties of plants, both with brightly colored berries.

  • Would you rather know for certain that one of those bushes bears edible fruit that won’t harm you, and consume those berries with confidence because you have taken the effort to be educated on the flora of the area?
  • Or would you prefer to have absolutely no idea which one is safe because the thought that you might have to rely on berries in the woods to survive is pessimistic, and you refused to spoil a great hiking trip with negative thinking beforehand?

Preparedness: It means that whatever may come, you intend to not only grimly survive, but to thrive. It means that you foresee a day when the imminent threat, whatever that may be, diminishes, and you will rebuild. It means that you have taken responsibility for yourself and your family, and that you will not be forced to rely on others. It means that your mind is focused on life itself, not some imaginary life of some reality star that actually has no grasp on reality whatsoever. You have chosen not to be misguided by the lies that the media uses to pacify you.

Preparing yourself is the most optimistic and hopeful thing you can do in a world that would prefer to choose immediate gratification over a firm grasp on reality. Readying yourself to deal with whatever might happen is a joyful act, an expression of gratitude to the Creator and the Universe, peace made tangible, and the personification of faith itself.

Also, a quick  note to beginners:

Please, don’t let the thought of all of the preps that you do not yet have bring you down. It’s a process, and the most important prep is already in place: your mindset.  Once you know the possibilities, accept them, and begin to prepare, you are already far ahead of most of the neighborhood. You’ve taken the most important step, the first one, and the rest will come as long as you persevere. Don’t be discouraged by how much you have left to do, instead, be encouraged by how far ahead you are compared to your starting point. Never underestimate the magnitude of the importance of your state of mind.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;

an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

~ Winston Churchill

A Quick-Start Guide for New Preppers Who Want to be Ready RIGHT NOW

When you first start prepping you want everything RIGHT NOW. You look around your home and see nothing but shortcomings. You don’t have enough food, you don’t have a woodstove, you have no secondary water source…that’s it. You and your family are doomed.

You feel a panicked urgency because you’ve learned just enough to know that you are NOT prepared.You know that there are all sorts of supplies that you need, but if you’re like most of us, you’re on a budget. Very few of us can afford to buy everything we need all at once.

Here’s a guide

Stop panicking. Take a deep breath. You can devote yourself to getting prepared without breaking the bank.

So if you have to split up your purchases, how do you prioritize your supplies? How can you create a sensible supply quickly before an impending crisis occurs?

The recommendations in this guide for new preppers will help speed you through the preparedness process. Wherever possible, use items that you already have. Consider this a checklist of what you need and fulfill it as you can. In each category there will be a range of options, including some freebies whenever possible, as well as reading material on the subject.

Please keep in mind, the following doesn’t provide you with a year’s supply of anything. It will get you through most short-term disasters with aplomb, though. Once you have this foundation in place, you can spend time and money building upon it.

Water

Water is near and dear to my heart, so much so that I wrote a book on the topic.  I always put water at the top of the list, because without it, you’ll be dead in 3 short days. The need for an emergency water supply isn’t always the result of a down grid disaster. Recently, we tapped into our emergency water when the well pump broke. Some places have had water emergencies when the municipal supply was contaminated by stuff like industrial spills or agricultural run-off. Floods and bad storms can also sometimes cause the water supply to be tainted.

Use containers you have RIGHT NOW and fill them with water from the tap. Put the lid on and stash them away. Don’t use milk jugs or juice jugs for drinking water, but you can use them for sanitation water in a pinch. If you can get your hands on some empty, clean 2-liter soda bottles, that will be perfect. We don’t drink soda, so we have some of the 1-gallon water bottles from the store.

Buy some filled 5-gallon jugs of purified water.  How much you need should be based on the number of family members. The rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person, per day, but you may find you need a lot more than that when you add in pets and sanitation needs. You may be able to find these less expensively, already filled at the store. When I lived in Canada you could pick up a filled jug for less than $10, but California has all sorts of environmental rules that make these containers more expensive here. Another option is the 7-gallon Aquatainer that is designed for easy stacking. (Be sure to put this in a place where the floor can support the weight of a bunch of heavy water containers.)

Have a way to dispense the water from the jugs.  We have a top-loading water dispenser for use in emergencies. These MUST be top loading because the bottom-loading ones require electricity to run the pump.) If you don’t want to make that kind of investment,  you can get a nifty little pump for about $12.

Get a gravity-fed water filter.  I use a Propur, but it’s a hefty investment when you’re trying to get everything at once. If you can’t swing that, buy Jim Cobb’s Prepper’s Survival Hacks book. It has numerous DIY water filters that you can make without spending a fortune.

Cooking methods

If the power goes out, how will you cook? You need the ability to boil water, at the very least. If you can boil water, then you can heat up canned food or prepare freeze-dried food in an emergency. Here are some secondary cooking methods, some of which you may already have.

Wood stove or fireplace.  If you heat with wood, you’re a step ahead already, at least in the midst of a winter power outage. However, you won’t want to fire up the wood stove to cook in the summer, particularly since you may already be battling the heat without a fan or air conditioner.

Gas kitchen stove.  Some kitchen stoves that use gas or propane can be used without electricity while others can’t. (If you’re replacing your stove, this is definitely a quality you’ll want to look for.)

Outdoor barbecue. If weather allows, you can fire up your propane or charcoal barbecue during a power outage and cook your feast outdoors.

Rocket stove. There are all sorts of little emergency stoves out there which are designed to boil water quickly and without the use of a great deal of fuel.  My favorites are the Volcano 3-way stove and the Kelly Kettle.  You can also make an efficient stove. We made one last week that brought water to boil in less than 4 minutes.

Do not risk using emergency stoves designed for camping, indoors, unless the manufacturer specifically says that it can be used indoors. To do so is to risk fire, smoke damage, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Food

Emergency food comes in many different forms. The first thing you have to look at is cooking methods, which we discussed above. The food you choose needs to be able to be prepared using the method you have available now, not the one you plan to get in the future.

Another important note is that your emergency food supply should be nutritious. You won’t want to fill up on empty calories when you may be making greater demands of your body. Keep in mind food restrictions, too, because an emergency situation is bad enough without an allergic reaction or intolerance illness.

There are several different ways to create a food supply.

See what you have.  Go through your kitchen cupboards and see what you already have that could be used in an emergency. Things like nut butters, crackers, and other no-cook snacks are great options. Canned foods that only require heating are good as well. Instant rice or noodles can be added to your emergency supply. Group these items together on a special shelf or in a Rubbermaid container so that they are available when you need them. Figure out how long your supply would last your family before you go and purchase more. Figure out what shelf-stable items you need to add to balance out your supply. (Perhaps dried or canned fruit and vegetables, canned meat, jerky, etc., would provide more nutrients and variety.)

Emergency buckets. The very fastest way to create an instant food supply is emergency buckets of freeze-dried food, which require only the ability to boil water to prepare. One caveat: do not go with the cheapest thing you can find. Some of those taste absolutely terrible. As well, they’re loaded with unhealthy chemicals and sodium. If you normally eat very healthfully, then move to MSG-laden freeze-dried meals, you’re not going to feel well at all in an emergency.

My very favorite brand of emergency food is Numanna, found HERE.  It’s surprisingly tasty, contains no GMOs, no MSG, and no Aspartame.  They even have gluten-free products, which is important to my family since we have some pretty severe intolerances.  These are already prepacked to last for 25 years and are a crucial part of my long-term food supply.

Build a pantry.  Make a list of what you need to feed your family for a month without a trip to the store, and without reliance on long cooking times. (This rules out beans and rice for most people.)

Heat

If you live in a cold climate, winter weather during a power outage can be a life-threatening emergency. It’s vital to have the ability to stay warm if the power goes out. Most central heating systems require electricity to run the fan or motors. Here are some options for secondary heat sources if you generally rely on your central heating system.

  • Wood Heat: Everyone’s favorite off-grid heating method is a fireplace or wood stove. The fuel is renewable and you have the added bonus of an off-grid cooking method. Unfortunately, if your home doesn’t already have one, it can be a pretty expensive thing to install.  If you rent, it’s probably not going to be an option at all to add wood heat to someone else’s property. If you have wood heat, make sure you have a good supply of seasoned firewood that is well-protected from the elements.
  • Propane Heaters:  There are several propane heaters on the market that do not require electricity.  I own a Little Buddy heater.  These small portable heaters are considered safe for indoor use in 49 states.  They attach to a small propane canister and use 2 oz. of fuel per hour to make 100 square feet extremely warm and toasty.  A battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm provides an extra measure of safety when using these heaters indoors.  Be sure to stock up on propane if this is your back-up heat method.
  • Kerosene/Oil Heaters:  Kerosene heaters burn a wick for heat, fueled by the addition of heating oil.  These heaters really throw out the warmth.  A brand new convection kerosene heater can heat up to 1000 square feet efficiently.  When we lived in the city I was lucky enough to have an antique “Perfection” oil heater, which was a charming addition to our decor that was be called into service during grid-down situations.
  • Natural Gas Fireplaces:  Some gas-fueled fireplaces will work when the electrical power goes out – they just won’t blow out heat via the fan.
  • Pellet Stove:   Most pellet stoves require electricity to run, but there are a few of these high efficiency beauties that will work without being plugged in.

If you have no additional heat at all, you can usually keep one room tolerable for 2-3 days.  If the cold is relentless and the outage lasts longer than that, you may need to seek other shelter.  Watch your temperatures. If the daytime temperature in the house dips below 40 degrees, the night time temperature will be even colder, and it won’t be safe to stay there, especially if you have children or family members who are more susceptible to illness.

These methods can help you stay cozier during a storm.

  • Heat only one room.  One year, our furnace went out the day before Christmas. We huddled into a small room with just one window.  We closed the door to the bedroom and used a folded quilt at the bottom to better insulate the room.  If you don’t have a door to the room you’ve opted to take shelter in, you can hang heavy quilts  or blankets in the doorways to block it off from the rest of the house.
  • Cover your windows.  You can use a plastic shower curtain and duct tape, topped by a heavy quilt to keep the wind from whistling through your windows.  Take down the quilt if it’s sunny outside for some solar gain, then cover it back up as dark falls. If you have reason to be concerned about OPSEC (OPerational SECurity – keeping your preps private), use heavy black garbage bags to cover the windows to keep light from escaping.
  • Light candles.  Even the small flames from candles can add warmth to a small area.  Be sure to use them safely by keeping them out of the reach of children and housing them in holders that won’t tip over easily.
  • Use kerosene lamps.  Those charming old-fashioned lamps can also add warmth to the room.
  • Use sleeping bags.  Cocooning in a sleeping bag conserves body heat better than simply getting under the covers.
  • Have a camp-out.  This works especially well when you have children because it adds an element of fun to an otherwise stressful situation.  Pitch a tent in your closed off room, get inside with a flashlight, and tell stories.  When you combine your body heat in a tiny space like that, you’ll stay much warmer.
  • Get cooking. If you have a propane or gas stove in the kitchen, your cooking method may not require electricity.  So bake a cake, roast a turkey, or simmer a soup. You can use it to warm the room while making a hot, delicious feast.
  • Heat some rocks.  Do you have a place outdoors for a campfire?  If so, put some large rocks around the edges of it.  They retain heat for hours.  When it’s bedtime, carefully place the rocks into a cast iron Dutch oven and bring this into the room you’re going to be sleeping in.  Be sure to protect your floor or surface from the heat of the Dutch oven. The stones will passively emit heat for several hours without the potential of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning during the night.

Sanitation

Another thing that can quickly become dire is personal sanitation. Depending on your situation, you may not have running water or flushing toilets. You need to stock up on supplies to make the best of these situations and keep family members healthy.

  • Baby wipes. You can never have enough baby wipes. Stock up on these for hand-washing after using the bathroom, before and after food prep, and before eating.  They can also be used to wipe down surfaces.
  • Cleaning supplies. You still have to keep your home reasonably clean when there is no running water to help prevent illness and disease.
  • Personal waste. You have to have a plan to deal with personal waste when the toilet won’t flush.  Waste must be handled very carefully to avoid the spread of disease and illness.

Here are the items I recommend that you keep on hand for water emergencies:

  • Disposable disinfecting wipes
  • Super absorbent paper towels
  • Basins
  • Baby wipes (These can be used for hand washing and personal hygiene.)
  • Your regular spray cleaner (Ours is vinegar and orange essential oil)
  • Kitty litter. This soaks up messes, and helps to absorb odor. (If your toilet won’t flush because you’re on a city sewer system, it can also be used as a makeshift toilet.)

Light

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

  • Garden stake solar lights
  • Long-burning candles
  • Kerosene lamp and fuel
  • Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
  • Hand crank/solar lantern
  • Don’t forget matches or lighters

Tools and supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Super glue
  • Sewing kit
  • Bungee cords

As you progress, you’ll want to expand on the basic tools.

First Aid kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays.  As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication. Particularly important if sanitation is a problem are anti-diarrheal medications. Be sure to have a couple of good medical guides on hand.

Special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Other Stuff

As you continue along your preparedness journey, you’ll find that there are other items that are very important to you. For example, you’ll want to build yourself a bug-out bag for possible evacuations.

And don’t be surprised when this mindset creates within you the itch to be more self-reliant, which means you’ll be adding gardening tools, sewing supplies, woodworking tools,  and other supplies to your stockpile.

Another aspect of preparedness that is often overlooked in the beginning of the journey is the ability to protect your home and family. If you aren’t already of this mindset, the idea of bringing home a firearm can be overwhelming. When you’re ready to learn more about personal protection and home defense, go HERE and read this article.

You’ve got this!

You’re going to do some list-writing, so grab a notebook and pen.

  • Write a master list. Now, based on this article, go through and write a list of the things that you feel are important for your family’s preparedness plan. Include the things that you already have. Organize your list by checking off the things you have.
  • Organize the supplies that you have into “kits”. I have Rubbermaid tubs labeled with the contents for emergency purposes, sorted into kits for things like pandemic supplies, off-grid lighting, batteries and power supplies, etc.
  • Now write a minimalist list of the first things that you must have for survival. Don’t worry if you can’t get everything at once. Start off by covering all of the bases with a skeleton kit that will get you by.  This list might include some food that doesn’t require cooking (thus eliminating the immediate need for a secondary cooking method), a way to keep warm, water, a kitty litter toilet, and some baby wipes.
  • Finally, write the big list. This is a list of the things mentioned in the article that you want to own. Make a copy of the list and keep it in your wallet so that if you happen by a thrift store or yard sale, you know what you need. As your budget allows, pick up one or two of these items per week. These may be higher ticket items so don’t worry if it takes you a while to get them. You’ve gotten the bare necessities, so these items will just add to your already sturdy foundation of preparedness.

Don’t panic. Start with your basics in each category and add to it as your time and budget allow.

* How to Build a 30-Day Emergency Food Supply…Fast

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you may be feeling on edge.  You may feel as though time is running out for you to get your preparedness supplies in order. You may be new to prepping, and feeling like there’s too much to accomplish.  The stress in our country is at peak level.  We’ve listened to the war drums beat louder. We’ve witnessed riots breaking out in cities across America. We’ve watched the bumbling efforts of officials to respond to natural disasters and potential pandemics. The economy is in a freefall, and terrorist groups declare Jihad on anyone who doesn’t share their religious beliefs.

This feeling of urgency can make you feel hopeless and panicked, and that’s not productive.  There’s no time for a lack of productivity. It’s time to focus and create your food supply…fast. If an event occurs during which you are unable to leave your home, you want to make certain that you can keep food on the table without waiting for a handout to be doled out at the whim of some government agency. Such an event could be a mandatory quarantine, self-imposed isolation due to a pandemic, civil unrest in your town, martial law, or even a terrible storm that leaves you stranded, with no access to the store.

Generally I write about healthy food. I write about focusing on whole foods without additives, and I firmly believe that is the very best way to build your food supply.  I believe strongly in the value of a pantry that you will use day to day to nourish your family.

However, if you do not have a food supply waiting in your pantry, now is the time to focus on creating an emergency stockpile quickly.  You can then add healthier options at your leisure. The quantities in this article are per person, so you’ll need to multiply this by the number of people in your home. You can order these items online and get them to your door within a couple of days.

Alternatively, you can shop around and try to find duplicates locally. You can also create a food plan, make a list, and go shopping, purchasing the highest quality items available, and repackaging them for longer shelf life.

However you opt to build your food supply, please don’t hesitate. If a worst case scenario occurred, the goal is to be able to feed your family for at least a month.

Create a stockpile with emergency food buckets

If you’re trying to build a food supply quickly, consider ordering a bucket with a month’s supply of meals in it.

Here’s why every prepper should have some emergency food buckets stashed away:

  1. A lot of calories can be condensed into a very small amount of space.
  2. If you have the capacity to boil water during an emergency, a filling meal can be yours.
  3. They add variety and speed to an emergency food supply.
  4. Calorie for calorie, they’re lightweight and easily portable in the event of a bug-out scenario.
  5. They’re professionally packaged to have a 25-year shelf life, so you can get it, stick it in the back of your closet, and forget about it until you need it.

Now, the downside.

If you’re looking for ready-made meals, none of them are going to be completely without additives. This is impossible because they’re made to last for 25 years, to take up minimal space,  to cook up quickly and efficiently, and to taste reasonably good.

Some compromises must be made. Yes, emergency food buckets contain processed food, but you don’t have to let go of all of your focus on healthful choices.

You may look at the prices of these items and say, “Oh, I can’t afford this.” But you have to remember, this is enough food for an ENTIRE MONTH.  At $150, that means you’re spending only $3 per day on food.  It honestly doesn’t get much cheaper than that.

You’ll notice on the list of extras that I recommended a gentle laxative. Some people, when dependent solely upon MREs or dehydrated foods, become constipated.  I also recommended a high-quality multivitamin to help ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need.

My Favorite Choice:

NuManna One Month Grab-and-Go

one-month-grab-n-go

The One Month Grab-and-Go by NuManna is my #1 choice for emergency food. While I’ve purchased other brands, NuManna is now the only product line we purchase. Why? Here’s the company’s vision statement:

NuManna believes that emergency food should be as healthy if not healthier than the food we eat on a daily basis. The effects of food on our overall health have never been a bigger concern. Chemical preservatives, food allergies, gluten intolerance, MSG, and certainly Genetically Modified (GMO) foods are all challenging our well-being.

NuManna Foods is well aware of these problems. The founders of NuManna have their own special dietary needs and were seeking storable foods with no Aspartame, or High Fructose Corn Syrup before NuManna began. GMO-free ingredients and gluten restricted options were also a high priority. They didn’t find storable food meals quite up to the standards set for their own family. So, they decided to create them and became one of the first storable food makers of its kind to offer such selective and chemically free products.

We understand customers with exacting standards. We understand how food intolerance can be overwhelming. We also realize the human body cannot eat preserved foods for an extended period of time without getting sick. Your food storage and emergency supplies should not be a health crisis. We work to meet and exceed your expectations and make it easy to find the high-quality storable foods you want and need without sacrificing flavor or value.

Allow our pursuit of quality preparedness food to overcome the frustration you may have felt in seeking out healthy food storage. Our standard packages are Certified 100% GMO-Free with no preservatives, no soy, or other controversial ingredients. We also offer complete Gluten Restricted buckets with the same chemical and preservative-free standard. Our foods are even free of Autolyzed Yeast Extract. NuManna is a true innovator in healthy and chemically free storable foods.

I haven’t found anything else in the storable industry with these standards, and I believe that this could raise the bar to the point that the industry is changed completely. At the time of publication, One Month Grab-and-Go bucket was $149.95. They don’t count things like drink mixes as “meals” which means each meal you pay for is actual food. Here’s what the bucket contains:

Sweet Habanero Chili (6 servings)
Mac -n- Cheese (6 servings)
Pasta Primavera (6 servings)
Enchilada, Beans & Rice (6 servings)
Hearty Soup w/ Pasta (6 servings)
Pasta Alfredo (6 servings)
Cheddar Broccoli Soup (10 servings)
Cheesy Potato Soup (10 servings)
Granola/Multi Grain Cereal (10 servings)
Classic Chili (10 servings)
Numanna offers some specialty buckets too. The Defender Nutritive Pack has the addition of the following superfoods to increase the nutritional value of each meal.
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Organic Black Chia Seeds
  • Organic Sprouting Seeds
  • Organic Brown Jasmine Rice
  • Parboiled Rice
  • Organic Spelt

And finally, Numanna offers a gluten-free family pack for those with restricted diets. It contains:

Gluten Free Pasta Primavera (3 x 6 servings)
Classic Chili (2 x 10 servings)
Enchilada, Beans & Rice (2 x 6 servings)
Sweet Habanero Chili (2 x 6 servings)
Italian Gluten Free Pasta (2 x 6 servings)
Potato Casserole (2 x 6 servings)
Cheesy Broccoli Soup (1 x 10 servings)
Black Bean Soup (1 x 10 servings)
Cheesy Potato Soup (1 x 10 servings)
Oatmeal (1 x 10 servings)

Extra stuff to add some variety and nutrition

If it’s in the budget, adding some fruits, vegetables, desserts, and dry milk can go a long way towards fighting food fatigue.

Hormone Free Non-Fat Milk Powder

Organic Milk Powder

 

Don’t forget to add an assortment of spices and condiments to make your emergency meals tastier.

And for the love of all things cute and fluffy….get one of these bucket openers and make your life easier!!!!

12 Strategies for Creating the Perfect Pantry

There are a lot of different ways to go about building your pantry.  While each style has its pros and cons, I think that adhering to any one strategy alone leaves some gaps in your food preparedness. Personally, I’m a fan of combining the best of each world based on the needs of your particular family. Enjoy this  excerpt from The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget:

Looking for a strategy to create your own pantry? There are a lot of different philosophies out there, but I think it boils down to three basic types of food supplies:

  • The Bunker Pantry
  • The Agrarian Pantry
  • The Bargain-Hunter’s Pantry

This doesn’t mean you are stuck with just one strategy, however. All of the types have positives and negatives. Learn about these food storage ideologies and then take the most applicable components for your situation. Combine them to create your own version of the Perfect Pantry. Use strategies from each type to create a stockpile that meets your family’s needs.

The Bunker Pantry

This is the most “hardcore” of the food storage types.  A Bunker Pantry is the type of food supply that could keep you going for the next ten years without a single trip to the store.  Sure, it might be a little bit boring and lacking in variety, but it is a supply that will see you through any disaster while allowing you to remain in your shelter.  This type of pantry focuses on huge quantities of long-term foods, repackaged carefully to resist spoilage due to pests or the elements.

If this is the type of pantry you’d like to build, focus on staples such as wheat, rice, dried beans, salt, and sugar.  These foods can be purchased in bulk and repackaged by the user, or you can purchase them already packaged up through vendors like the Latter Day Saints (LDS) warehouse or online food storage websites.

Variety can be added to this type of pantry through commercially canned fruits, vegetables, and meats.  When looking for sales on these items, be sure to check the expiration dates. If you are storing for the long-term you want to be certain to grab cans with the longest shelf life.

Another great way to add fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy to your Bunker Pantry is through the addition of freeze-dried foods. If properly packaged, these foods can last up to 25 years.  As long as you have water to rehydrate these foods, your diet can remain fairly normal throughout a long-term scenario. Imagine how decadent you’d feel, rehydrating the ingredients to make a fluffy cheese omelet with ham and peppers in the midst of an off-grid situation.

It takes a lot of space to store this much food, so generally a dedicated area must be used as a storeroom.  Items should be clearly marked with expiration dates, and when that date draws near, the items should be rotated in to the family’s kitchen.

The Agrarian Pantry

This type of pantry is the kind our ancestors had.  Most of the purchases are made during the growing season and only small shopping trips are needed to supplement this throughout the year. It combines enough basic staples for the year ahead with enough of your preserved harvest to get you through until the next growing season.  (This is primarily the type of pantry that we keep in our family, with a few of the other strategies added to increase the usefulness of our stockpile.).

To build an Agrarian Pantry, stock up on a year’s supply of basics like grains, baking items, tea, coffee, and dried beans.  Then focus your efforts on acquiring items in season and preserving them when they are at their peak.  Try your hand at canning, dehydrating, and root cellaring.  Items can be grown on your own property or purchased by the bushel from local farms and orchards.

Look into purchasing a side of beef and a side of pork to add to your pantry. One purchase per year is sufficient for most families, and your price per pound drops dramatically when you buy meat in this type of quantity.  Remember not to put all of your faith in the deep freezer, however, because a grid-down scenario could leave you with a smelly mess and a large lost investment.  Try canning, smoking, salting and dehydrating for the bulk of your meat purchases.

This type of pantry must be replenished every year. Basically, the items in your pantry are purchased and put back with the intention of consuming them within the next 12 months.  Extra supplies should ideally be stored to make up for shortfalls caused by a poor harvest.

The Bargain-Hunter’s Pantry

This is the type of pantry made famous by the extreme couponing shows.  Using a variety of strategies, people can amass an enormous quantity of food for very little money.  Couponing, sale shopping, bartering, and buying from outlet stores and warehouses can help to create a pantry full of packaged items.

While this is a great way to get started or to supplement your other strategies, it’s my least favorite way to create a stockpile.  First, much of what you are acquiring is highly processed.  Secondly, without a lot of personal discipline, you aren’t building a balanced pantry, but just stockpiling whatever is the cheapest.  If you use this method, you must be extremely careful not to end up with a pantry full of carbs, but no protein, fruits, and veggies. (I don’t care what the kids say, 25 cent ketchup is not a vegetable.)

Warnings aside, you can build up a huge amount of food on a very limited budget and still be relatively healthy if you are a smart shopper.

When building a Bargain-Hunter’s Pantry, consider the following suggestions to create more balance:

  • Look for the items with the least number of ingredients – don’t stock your shelves with chemistry projects, no matter how cheap they are.
  • Strive for balance by creating an inventory list to keep in your purse so that you know which types off foods are needed to keep your family healthy. (Are you short of protein sources?  Veggies? Healthy fats?)
  • Don’t add it to your stockpile merely because it’s cheap, particularly if your storage space is limited.
  • Be sure to rotate the items into your kitchen by expiry date.  Often the items that have the deepest discounts are the closest to expiration. You aren’t saving money if you end up throwing out spoiled food.

Combine the Best of Each Strategy to Build the Perfect Pantry

The Perfect Pantry combines the three strategies listed above to create the optimal supply for the needs of your particular family.

The key is organization.  Keep the following tips in mind to create the best possible pantry.

  1. Keep an up-to-date inventory so that you know what you have
  2. Catalog your coupons by type and expiration date
  3. Track the sales cycles
  4. Keep your products rotated into your kitchen so that you don’t lose foods to missed expiration dates.
  5. Store longer-term foods in optimum conditions to prolong their viability.
  6. Maintain a list of what is needed to balance your pantry nutritionally so that you can focus on those items when an unexpected bargain pops up.
  7. Buy pantry staples (like beans and grains) in the largest quantities you can manage in order to maximize your savings.
  8. Remember the adage “Store what you eat and eat what you store” – it isn’t a bargain if you purchase something no one in your family will eat.
  9. Supplement your pantry by growing as much as possible in your particular circumstances, even if you are just adding a windowsill herb and salad garden.
  10. Tap into your inner hunter-gatherer with strategies like foraging, fishing, snaring, and hunting.
  11. Purchase seasonally and in large quantities from local growers (or harvest from your own gardens).
  12. Become a food preservation expert and stock up on the necessary tools and supplies.

The One Simple Secret to Surviving Any Crisis

When disaster strikes, will you be ready? Will you be organized, calm, and ready to adapt to whatever the situation brings? Sometimes we have some warning, and sometimes things happen out of the blue. There is one simple secret that will allow you to sail through nearly any crisis. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, or take up an entire roomful of storage space.

It’s your ability to accept the scenario.

The more time you spend denying that this could ever happen to you, happen in your home town, or occur at all, the less time you have to take definitive action. In fact, your willingness to accept that disaster could strike before it ever does puts you even further ahead, because you’ll be ready for immediate action without wasting valuable time wrapping your brain around it.

We recently hovered on the edge of evacuation for 12 days due to the King Fire, a forest fire that nearly reached 100,000 acres.  We got up on a sunny Saturday morning,  never realizing that would be the day an angry man would punctuate a domestic dispute by setting fire to a tree in the other person’s yard. Certainly, no one expected that one act of anger to set off a fire that would exceed the size of the city of Atlanta.

However, he did set that fire, and it came as close as 2 miles to our home over the almost-two-weeks that we watched with bated breath.

During the fire, I joined a number of local groups online so that I could get the most up-to-the-minute information, and during this time, I took lots of notes of my observations. The thing that was very clear is that those who were at least somewhat prepared handled the situation far better than those who simply couldn’t accept that this threat was actually happening to them.

As someone who has studied preparedness for many years, I witnessed firsthand the classic exemplar of human behavior during a disaster.  Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, wrote an article last year called The Anatomy of a Breakdown. In the article, she pointed out that in the event of disaster, society devolves in a predictable pattern with four distinct phases.  Her observations were accurate during our experience.  As we watched the events unfold, some people changed dramatically.

The difference between the people who crumbled, becoming easily offended, snarling, and hysterical, and the people who were generous, calm, and effective?  Their levels of preparedness, both mental and physical.

Think about any stressful situation that has ever happened to you.  Once you accepted the fact that it had happened you were able to set a course of action. Once you had definitive steps to take, you probably felt much calmer. You took control of the things you could, and you executed your plan.  Only by taking that first step – accepting that this mishap had indeed occurred – could you take the next two.

1.) Accept

2.) Plan

3.) Act

No matter what situation you find yourself in, these steps will nearly always see you through.

Here’s what we saw.

During our own experience, here are the things I witnessed. They could apply to any type of disaster, natural or otherwise:

Bug out bags are absolutely the first prep you should make. If you’re just getting started, do this one thing. You can do it without spending a penny, by just gathering up things that you already own. You may not have a top-of-the-line, ready-for-the-apocalypse bag , but you’ll still be far ahead of most people.  When we first learned of the fire and realized that evacuating might become necessary, I had only two things to do. I had to get documents from the safe (the documents, by the way, were already housed in a plastic folder, so I only had to grab that one thing) and pull the pet carriers out of the shed. In less than 5 minutes, we were ready to roll. Had it been necessary, we could have left with only the photocopies of the documents, because those always remain in our bug-out bags. Having your bug-out bag ready means that you have accepted in advance that disaster could strike.

Any time one disaster strikes, several more are sure to follow. This is highly probable.  Some people in the fire zone not only stayed on the edge of evacuation for nearly two weeks, but they also lost power due to the fire.  This greatly reduced their ability to get news and information, which is vital in a disaster situation. It leads to even more worry and stress, and while you’re dealing with the potential of your home burning down, you’re also living through a power outage lasting several days. Getting prepared for a two-week power outage is absolutely vital and can see you through most regional disasters. Also, when it finally began to rain, although it helped to quench the flames, firefighters were suddenly threatened by flash floods. These were made worse because the areas no longer had the same natural obstructions to deter the flow of water.

Unprepared people panic.  Some people panicked initially. When we got the first evacuation alert (a notice that evacuation was highly likely within the next 24 hours), a woman who lived down the street was wailing and sobbing as her husband tried to pack up their vehicle.  She was rendered absolutely useless by fear. Meanwhile, my 13 year old was fulfilling her list while I fulfilled mine and we quickly made an orderly stack of important belongings, then turned on a movie to beat the stress. Had our area actually been forced to evacuate, those who panicked would have either been the last to leave, or they would have forgotten important things as they left in a disorganized rush. It’s important to decide ahead of time who packs what, and for each person to have a list. Sit down well before disaster strikes and make an evacuation plan with your family.

Get organized.  All the lists in the world won’t help you pack quickly if you don’t know where things are. One change we’re making is that all of the items we deemed precious enough to pack and take with us will now be stored in one area so that we won’t have to look for them when seconds count.  Another friend ran into the issue of dirty clothes: he actually had to evacuate with hampers of unwashed laundry. Having your home tidy and organized (and your laundry washed and put way) will help your packing go smoothly in the event of a sudden evacuation.

You can’t be prepared for everything.  Disaster situations are always fluid and they don’t go by a script. It’s vital to be adaptable to the changing situation.

Keep your vehicle full of fuel.  If you have to evacuate, lots of other people will be hitting the road too. When you’re stuck in traffic, you don’t want to be worried about your fuel gauge dropping to the empty mark, leaving you stranded in a dangerous situation.

The criminals come out, like cockroaches. Within 24 hours of the first evacuations, we learned that the local scumbags had looted some of the homes that had been left unattended. Within 48 hours, we learned that the scourge had reached the outlying areas, with these people breaking into cars that had been loaded up with the things that families had determined to be most important to them.  Of course, if you’ve evacuated, there’s nothing you can do about what’s happening to your home. But before evacuation, or in the event of civil unrest, it’s vital to be prepared to defend your family and belongings. In these situations, the first responders are busy, and that’s what criminals rely on. You should consider yourself to be completely on your own, and be ready for trouble. Keep in mind that during the civil unrest in Ferguson recently, the only businesses that didn’t get looted were the ones at which the owners stood armed and ready to defend their property.

The longer the stress lasts, the worse some people behave. As continued stress is applied, the true nature of a person becomes evident. People who formerly seemed like perfectly nice individuals were on the local message forums saying terrible things to one another. They were verbally attacking others for imagined slights and taking offense at things that would normally never ruffle feathers. Some folks were launching tirades against the very people who were performing the greatest service: the admins of the web pages who worked round the clock to keep us informed. If it was this bad in a potential emergency, can you imagine how bad things will get in a truly devastating long-term scenario?

But then…some people are wonderful. Alternatively, sometimes you see the very best of human nature. The generosity of many of my neighbors cannot be overstated. They housed livestock, pets, and families full of strangers during the evacuation. People showed up at the shelter with food and comfort items for those who had been evacuated. Firemen who came from near and far to fight the blaze were constantly being treated to meals at local restaurants, as other diners surreptitiously paid their tabs. Watching the kindness and gratitude helped to restore some of my faith in human nature, after seeing the squabbling and crime. It was interesting to me that the people who gave the most generously were the ones who were the most prepared. These folks were calm and could focus on other things besides “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to do!” We definitely learned who the people were that we wanted to surround ourselves with when the S really HTF.

Take steps now to be one of those calm people later.

Today, I want you to think about disasters. It’s certainly not a pleasant thought, but considering these things now – when there’s no fire bearing down on you, no hurricane heading your way, no chemical spill poisoning your water, no pandemic in the next town over – allows you to think more clearly and make a definitive plan of action.

So…

Check your bug out bags.

Organize your most precious belongings.

Discuss the plan with your family so that everyone knows what to expect.

Make these decisions now so that when – and it’s always “when” not “if” – disaster knocks at your door, you’re prepared to respond immediately. Learn about what to expect from others in order to keep your family safe and on-plan. Human nature isn’t as much of a variable when you can predict their behavior.

What to pack:

Here are the things we packed for our potential evacuation:

  • Bug out bags
  • Cell phone
  • Address book with important contacts
  • Money, credit cards
  • Pet carriers – I prefer the hard-sided ones so that our pets are sheltered better in a crowded vehicle
  • Pet food
  • 2 weeks of clothing
  • Extra shoes
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Documents (identification, insurance, passports, etc.)
  • A utility bill or other proof of residence
  • Small Portable safe for valuables
  • Family photos
  • Items of sentimental value
  • Reading material
  • Laptops
  • Water
  • A small fire extinguisher
  • Extra fuel in a safe container
  • Phone and laptop chargers
  • car charger
  • On the recommendation of a friend, I threw our swimming goggles in, to offer eye protection in the event we had to drive through thick smoke

Your list might also include:

  • Security items for children
  • Items to entertain children
  • Prescription medication
  • Allergy medication
  • Religious items for comfort
  • Food (If you go to an evacuation shelter, you may end up having to purchase meals out or make due with very small rations)
  • Bedding

Make a written checklist that you can easily access. You might include the location of items that are packed away. Decide on these things now, when you have the time to calmly think about what items are the most important.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of those sentimental items.  We feared that if we had to leave our home, we might never be coming back. Identify the things that are dear to your heart and put them in a place where you can grab those treasures quickly. Insurance can’t replace photos of those who have passed on, special gifts, and items that bring you memories of loved ones.

20 Works of Fabulous Fiction to Inspire Self-Reliant, Liberty-Loving Children and Teens

Do you want to inspire your kids to be free and self-sufficient?  There’s nothing better than a good book to point them in the right direction.

My kids are total bookworms, so I enlisted their help to compile this list of favorites. Some folks may pooh-pooh the idea of fiction as  a teaching tool, but reading about a character who is smart, adaptable, self-reliant, and skilled can influence the way your child or teenager thinks.  These books are not all specific to kids in prepper families – many of them are just tales of kids who are put into situations in which they must rely on their wits and courage to survive, while others outline the dangers of too much government.

In no particular order, (and just in time for Christmas) here is a list of favorites from the Luther Family Library of Awesome and Influential Books. I’ve included a little synopsis from Amazon with each book.

For Younger Kids

The Little House series

This 9 book set follows the adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family from their little homestead in the middle of the frigid Northern forest of her younger years through the journey west on a wagon train, farming, education in a one-room school house, up until Laura becomes an adult and gets married.

The Boxcar Children series

There’s something about orphans struggling to get by that inspires great works of fiction, and this vintage series is no exception. The Alden children begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather they never knew they had.

Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure: A Prepper’s Book for Kids

The world can be a scary place! There are snowstorms and mean snakes, hot jungles and wild rivers. But intrepid adventurer Jake and his dog Miller aren’t scared —they’re prepared! In Jake & Miller’s Big Adventure, young readers discover it’s never too early to start prepping. Learning how to use life-saving survival equipment like canned goods, water filters, first aid kits, Mylar blankets and emergency radios can keep you safe, healthy and happy even in the scariest of adventures—whether you’re deep in the jungle or hunkering down at home.

An Island Called Liberty 

“This book is a cross between Dr. Seuss and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged,” writes the publisher. Younger children will enjoy the rhyming verse and beautiful, full-color illustrations on every page, while older children and adults will enjoy the strong message that speaks in favor of free markets and against excessive government regulation, bureaucracy, and taxation.

Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids (Prepper Pete and Friends)

Prepper Pete works very hard to keep his family safe by preparing for events that may happen in the future… things such as power outages, bad storms, illness, and other disasters. Join our hero as he explores the many reasons to “be prepared” and fun things your family can do, too!

Prepper Pete’s Gun of a Son: A Gun Safety Book for Kids

Prepper Pete works very hard to keep his family safe. When his son Charlie becomes old enough, they enroll in a gun safety class together. Join our hero, his son, and their friends in this fabulously illustrated book as they explore many of the important aspects of gun safety ***** A Note For grownups If knowledge is power, then in the case of firearms, “knowledge is safety.” Familiarity with guns for kids often helps avoid the “forbidden fruit” syndrome, which can create a safer environment. When they are an appropriate age, work with your kids to familiarize them with firearms, and always stress the importance of gun safety!

Founders’ Fables

A unique and colorful conservative children’s book, “Founders’ Fables” helps families explain America’s most treasured values through the use of ten simple fables. These stories address the principles of the Founding Fathers and the concept of limited government through the use of funny and memorable characters. Each story, written in rhyme, begins with a quote from one of our founders and is followed by age-appropriate discussion questions and a short art activity to inspire the child to an even deeper understanding. Topics addressed within the stories include self-reliance, national debt, pork barrel spending, socialism, eminent domain, free speech and government intervention in business and private lives. This book can be understood and enjoyed by children ages 5 to 85!

For Young Adults

Island of the Blue Dolphins

The Newberry Medal-winning story of a 12-year old girl who lives alone on a Pacific island after she leaps from a rescue ship. Isolated on the island for eighteen years, Karana forages for food, builds weapons to fight predators, clothes herself in a cormorant feathered skirt, and finds strength and peace in her seclusion. A classic tale of discovery and solitude.

The Hunger Games Trilogy 

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. The series follows Katniss and her allies as they fight for their freedom from the tyrannical Capitol.

The Divergent Series

One choice can transform you. This series tells a gripping dystopian tale of electrifying choices, powerful consequences, unexpected romance, and a deeply flawed “perfect society.”

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

On a six-mile hike on the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail, nine-year-old Trisha McFarland quickly tires of the constant bickering between her older brother, Pete, and her recently divorced mother. But when she wanders off by herself, and then tries to catch up by attempting a shortcut, she becomes lost in a wilderness maze full of peril and terror. As night falls, Trisha has only her ingenuity as a defense against the elements, and only her courage and faith to withstand her mounting fears. For solace she tunes her Walkman to broadcasts of Boston Red Sox baseball games and follows the gritty performances of her hero, relief pitcher Tom Gordon. And when her radio’s reception begins to fade, Trisha imagines that Tom Gordon is with her—protecting her from an all-too-real enemy who has left a trail of slaughtered animals and mangled trees in the dense, dark woods…

Little Brother

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.  But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.  When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

1984

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

Animal Farm

As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As readers witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, they begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization—and in the most charismatic leaders, the souls of the cruelest oppressors.

Hatchet

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author ofThe Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.

If We Survive

High schooler Will Peterson and three friends journeyed to Central America to help rebuild a school. In a poor, secluded mountain village, they won the hearts of the local people with their energy and kindness. But in one sudden moment, everything went horribly wrong. A revolution swept the country. Now, guns and terror are everywhere—and Americans are being targeted as the first to die. Will and his friends have got to get out fast. But streets full of killers . . .hills patrolled by armies . . . and a jungle rife with danger stand between them and the border. Their one hope of escape lies with a veteran warrior who has lost his faith and may betray them at any moment. Their one dream is to reach freedom and safety and home. If they can just survive.

Cabin on Trouble Creek

After clearing enough forest to build a log cabin for their new home, Pa returns east to fetch the rest of the family, while young brothers Daniel and Will stay behind to watch the land. Pa had planned to return within six weeks . . . but something must have gone wrong. Now the boys must survive the winter with only a few supplies and their ability to invent and improvise. But are they alone in the woods? Jean Van Leeuwen;s engrossing novel of pioneer survival is based on a true incident.

My Side of the Mountain 

Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going–all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons.

Ice Drift

The year is 1868, and fourteen-year-old Alika and his younger brother, Sulu, are hunting for seals on an ice floe attached to their island in the Arctic. Suddenly the ice starts to shake, and they hear a loud crack–the terrible sound of the floe breaking free from land. The boys watch with horror as the dark expanse of water between the ice and the shore rapidly widens, and they start drifting south–away from their home, their family, and everything they’ve ever known. Throughout their six-month-long journey down the Greenland Strait, the brothers face bitter cold, starvation, and most frightening of all, vicious polar bears. But they still remain hopeful that one day they’ll be rescued.

What’s in your library?

Obviously, this list is far from comprehensive – it is a compilation of our own family favorites. I hope you and your own children inspire them!

 books books books

1 5 6 7