Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Wish List

I really like this list of preparedness items to ask for at Christmas. I found the list at Safely Gathered In blog:

In past years, whenever my husband/parents/in-laws asked me what I wanted for Christmas/birthday/anniversary, my mind went blank. Well, this year I know exactly what I'm asking for - food storage and emergency preparedness items!

We have compiled a Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness "Wish List". These are things that you may want to consider purchasing for yourself (or spouse, parents, children) this year, or you can mention these items when someone asks what you want!

We've broken down the items by price, but of course many items range in prices, so some things may be listed under two prices. If you aren't sure what some of these items are, just Google them and they're pretty explanatory. Or, feel free to email us (safelygatheredin (at) and we'll give you more information about a certain product, along with some recommendations.

*Note: these prices are based on quick online research. Shopping around or buying used will help you find the best deal on any of these items.

Under $20
Small first aid kits
Flashlights for the whole family
Jumper cables
Fuel for your camp stoves or grills
water storage containers
spices and herbs
seeds for the garden
bottles/jars for canning

$20 - 50
Water purifiers
good-quality sleeping bag
jumper cables
Dutch oven
Solar-powered radio (or solar radio/flashlight combo)
Wheat grinder (very small, hand cranked - useful if you lose electricity!)

Ready-made 72-hour kits
Wheat grinder (small - hand cranked or automatics)
Pressure cooker (small)
55-gallon drum for water storage

Rotating shelf systems (small)
Wheat grinder (small electric)
Good quality electric or hand-crank wheat grinder
Pressure cooker (large)

Rotating shelf systems (small to large)
Good quality electric wheat grinder
Pressure cooker (huge)
Good quality, large solar oven

Generators (for information on these, read a Popular Mechanics article here)

You could also just ask for some actual food storage - #10 cans of wheat, rice, beans, oats, powdered milk, etc.... YUM!

Other ideas would be stuff for camping. My sister has a cool bucket that has gloves, heavy duty spatula, aluminum foil, roasting sticks, salt and pepper, paper towel, hatchet, etc. Everything ready to grab and take when you go camping.

These same items above would help in a 'clean up' situation, if there was a hurricane, fire, earthquake or ? that happened in your neighborhood/city. Here in AZ we get microbursts. Trees are up rooted, telephone polls are downed, etc. Gloves, hatchets, goggles, flashlights, etc would be handy things to have around. (of course don't mess with any downed electric/telephone polls)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ideas of storing perishables long-term

There are SO many ideas out there on how to bring our perishables from the fridge to the Pantry shelf.

Boxed milk, evaporated milk, canned butter (yes, you really can do this...I have seen it done, I should do a tutorial, sometime), powdered eggs, etc, etc.

I had someone ask me recently about storing cheese. Her grandchildren LOVE Macaroni & Cheese, and she wanted a more long term, and possibly more cost-effective way of storing Mac & Cheese.

The neat thing is, there are many different ways to store don't have to rely on refrigeration.

I read a method of how one family stored a block of cheese in a cool dark place for many was still edible, just a sharper flavor.

There is also powdered cheese...which is of course PERFECT for the comfort food of Macaroni & Cheese. Below are a couple of links to companies that carry Cheese Powder...I have never ordered from any of these places, so I don't know anything about them...I just wanted to give some ideas.
Honeyville Grain
Emergency Essentials
A browse through a search engine will bring you a dozen more ideas. There are SO many companies out there! If you have ordered from a specific company, or know of a place that has fair prices, and good service...please share your information.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Helpful Hints

Random Helpful Hints and ideas, that just might (or might not) come in handy sometime:

Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little 'stringy things' off of it. That's how the primates do it.
Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.


Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.
It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!


Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Ground Beef

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

Scrambled eggs/omelets

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.


Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.


Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!

Reheat Pizza

Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

Easy Deviled Eggs

Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up.
Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg.
Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

Expanding Frosting

When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size.. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Reheating refrigerated bread

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Newspaper weeds away

Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

Broken Glass

Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

No More Mosquitoes

Place a dryer sheet in your pocket.
It will keep the mosquitoes away.

Squirrel Away!

To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

Flexible vacuum

To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose.
Place pin in seam of slacks and ... ta da! ... static is gone.

Measuring Cups

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water.
Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Foggy Windshield?

Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car . When the window s fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

Reopening envelope

If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. It unseals easily.


Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

Goodbye Fruit Flies

To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

Get Rid of Ants

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

The lint filter is made of a mesh material, using dryer sheets can cause a film over the mesh that can eventually burn out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free ... that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ... well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! The best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. It makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! (You will know it is filmy, because won't run through very well, it will basically collect in the mesh screen, but once you wash it, the water should run right through.)

NOTE: I tried this last 'hint' myself, with the lint filter...the water ran straight through for me, without washing with warm water and soap, maybe because I use softener liquid in the washer. Someone who uses dryer sheets needs to try this, and let me know their results via 'comments.' ~Steph

Monday, November 3, 2008

Top 100 items to Disappear First During a National Emergency OR Items You'll Wish You Had On Hand

Imagine you hear a rumble in the distance.....You wonder what it could be as it grows louder and louder. Whether it's an earthquake, a bad storm, nuclear testing, or an invasion of our country and the beginning of war, imagine the panic that would set in. Can you weather the storm? What if gas, power and water were unavailable? The reality of such a catastrophe would be much easier to survive through if some "essentials" were thought of and purchased ahead of time...

  1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage is risky. of thieves)
  2. Water Filters/Purifiers
  3. Portable Toilets
  4. Seasoned Firewood (Wood takes about 6-12 months to become dry enough for home use)
  5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First choice: BUy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
  6. Coleman Fuel--Impossible to stockpile too much.
  7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats, and Slingshots
  8. Hand can-openers, hand egg beaters, whisks
  9. Honey/syrup/white and brown sugar
  10. Rice--Beans--Wheat
  11. Vegetable oil (for cooking) Without it, foods burn/ must be boiled, etc.
  12. Charcoal, lighter fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
  13. Water containers (URGENT item to obtain) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY note--food grade if for drinking.
  14. 14 and 15 are missing on my list???
  15. ???
  16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur)
  17. Survival guidebook
  18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer term lighting is difficult)
  19. Baby supplies: Diapers, formula, ointments, aspirin, etc.
  20. Washboards, Mop bucket w/wringer (for laundry)
  21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
  22. Vitamins
  23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: small canister use is dangerous without this item)
  24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products
  25. Thermal underwear (tops and bottoms)
  26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, wedges (also,honing oil)
  27. Aluminum foil Reg. and Heavy Duty (Great cooking and barter item)
  28. Gasoline containers (plastic and metal)
  29. Garbage bags (Impossible to have too many)
  30. Toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels
  31. Milk--powdered & condensed (shake liquid every 3 to 4 months)
  32. Garden seeds (Non-hybrid) (A MUST)
  33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
  34. Coleman's pump repair kit
  35. Tuna fish (in oil)
  36. Fire extinguishers (or...large box of baking soda in every room)
  37. First aid kits
  38. Batteries (all sizes--buy furthest out for expiration dates)
  39. Garlic, spices and vinegar, baking supplies
  40. Big dogs (and dog food)
  41. Flour, yeast, salt
  42. Matches (Strike anywhere preferred) Boxed wooden matches will go first
  43. Writing paper/pads/pencils/solar calculators
  44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in winter)
  45. Workboots, belts, Levis and durable shirts
  46. Flashlights, lightsticks and torches, "No. 76 Dietz" Lanterns
  47. Journals, diaries & scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experiences; historic times)
  48. Garbage cans, plastic (great for storage, water, transporting--if with wheels)
  49. Men's hygiene: shampoo, toothpaste/brush, mouthwash, floss, nail clippers, etc
  50. 50 is also missing--fill in the blank???
  51. FIshing supplies/tools
  52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
  53. Duct Tape
  54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
  55. Candles
  56. Laundry detergent (liquid)
  57. Backpacks, duffel bags
  58. Garden tools & supplies
  59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
  60. Canned fruits, veggies, soups, stews, etc.
  61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
  62. Canning supplies (jars, lids, wax)
  63. Knives & sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
  64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains , etc.
  65. Sleeping bas & blankets/ pillows/ mats
  66. Carbon monoxide alarm (battery powered
  67. Board games, Cards, Dice
  68. D-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
  69. Mousetraps, ant traps & cockroach magnets
  70. Paper plates/ cups/ utensils (stock up, folks!)
  71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
  72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc
  73. Shaving supplies (razors, creams, talc, after shave)
  74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
  75. Soysauce, vinegar, bouillons/gravy/soupbase
  76. Reading glasses
  77. Chocolate/cocoa/tang/punch (water enhancers)
  78. "Survival-in-a-can"
  79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
  80. Boy Scout Handbook, also leaders catalog
  81. Roll-on window insulation kit (MANCO)
  82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, trail mix/jerky
  83. Popcorn, peanut butter, nuts
  84. Socks, underwear, t-shirts, etc.
  85. Lumber (all types)
  86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
  87. Cots and inflatable mattresses
  88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
  89. Lantern Hangers
  90. Screen patches
  91. Teas
  92. Coffee
  93. Cigarettes
  94. Wine/liquors (for brides, medicinal, etc.)
  95. Paraffin wax
  96. Glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
  97. Chewing gum, candies
  98. Atomizers (for cooling, bathing)
  99. Hats and cotton neckerchiefs
  100. Livestock