Archive for the ‘My Prepping Activities’ Category

Penny So much has happened since I last posted here.  MrPrepper retired, we adopted our two little grandchildren was finalized, the older of the two started kindergarten, we bought an RV and new truck and we are talking and looking at buying several acres in either Texas, Missouri or Kentucky where we can start our bona fide homestead.

We managed to have a wonderful Christmas among MrPreppers flu, the children both with colds and me with a migraine.  It was hard leading up to Christmas morning, but we put it together and the children loved it.  We incorporated Elf on the Shelf, which the children adored each morning discovering his mischief!  Definitely our new Christmas tradition.


Since I last posted, MrPrepper retired, we bought one RV and took a 6,000 mile trip from WI, IN and IL and back.  Upon returning, we promptly took the 19-foot RV to the dealer and upgraded to a 30-foot rig and a new truck to pull it with!  You can conclude that we have committed ourselves to doing a LOT of camping.  Of course, it serves dual purposes.  Not only is it our get away on weekends, it is in our plans as an emergency shelter if we ever have to bug out.  Yes, we have a plan for where that will be.

We have added two new members to the family.  During our trip to Indiana, we gifted a red-eared turtle we call Monroe (Marilyn passed away before we arrived) that managed to survive the journey back to Washington. Then we adopted a lab mix we named Sadie. 

SadieSadly, because of the somewhat unexpected trip back to the Midwest, I had to re-home my three lovely chickens.  But the coop is still there ready to welcome new girls in the spring.

Finally, and most importantly, the adoption for our 4 & 6-year-old grandchildren was granted on December 10th!  We have had the oldest his whole life and got his little sister 1 ½ years ago so nothing changed other than they are completely our own children.  We can make any decisions for them without having to go to court or get permission for.  Things like moving out-of-state.  

I started my business with Thirty-One Gifts for a couple of very good reasons.  1) I love Thirty-One and wanted to organize the RV with the product.  Why just buy all those organizers and bags when you can earn commission, right?  2)  With hubby retired, it gives me the chance to contribute to the family finances without going back to work outside the home. Washington!  And it’s going so well, I’ve promoted to Sr. Consultant.  That came with devoting significant time to build my business. 

And since MrPrepper is now retired, he has agreed to contribute to this blog!  Woo Hoo!  His knowledge and insight to important legislative issues about water and private property rights will be a great addition.

Also, since he is retired now, we are looking to possibly move to Missouri or Texas to buy a few acres and start the homestead I’ve been dreaming of for several years.  So this next step in my journey to self-reliance could be the most dramatic in finding and setting up a bona fide homestead with all the livestock I want to have.

So you see, life has been extremely demanding and has required my energies be placed elsewhere.  But I’m so happy to step back into writing and sharing the new journey we face as many things just opened up for us.

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pictures_with_words copy 6I LOVE growing my own food.  I’ve been gardening and canning my produce for a few years.  As I learn and journey through self-reliance, I’m always open to and looking for ways to expand my options.  Sprouting seeds is my newest experiment and I am thrilled with the ease and outcome of it.  Now I know I will be adding more seed varieties to my long-term storage.  These are great for sustaining life in a SHTF world.  They are quick to grow and add a punch of nutrition when food might be scarce.

I will assume you are reading this article because you, like I had done, are researching to learn how to grow them yourself.  So I will address the simplest and basic’s for sprouting.  But I must lay out a couple of important points to give you some understanding.

What is a sprout?

Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouted foods are a convenient way to have fresh vegetables for salads, or otherwise, in any season and can be germinated at home or produced industrially. They are a prominent ingredient of the raw food diet and common in Eastern Asian cuisine.

Eating sprouts is said to date back over 5,000 years.  Chinese physicians prescribed them for healing many ailments and disorders.  Even in the bible, sprouts are written about in the Book of Daniel.


Bigl Parrots Sprout Blend Day dry0001

What seeds to use

About any dry seed will sprout.  Dry seeds are not dead, they are simply dormant.  Soaking your seed will bring it to life and offer you some very healthy and delicious food in just 3-5 days.




E coliCaution & Care

If not properly disinfected, all seeds have the possibility of carrying E. coli bacteria or other foodborne pathogens.  I was taught to disinfect my seeds prior to sprouting them by using a 2% bleach solution (1 tsp. bleach to 1 cup of hot tap water) for 15 minutes before allowing them to sprout.





pictures_with_words copy 14This is how I started my seeds.  Because I was doing it for the 1st time, I opted to use a seed blend that was pre-packaged.  Now I know that I can use about any kind of seed and will never spend $3.50 again.

You might have different equipment to use, but this is how I grew mine.   I used a 1 quart canning jar, ring and a nylon screen.  You can use cheese cloth or any other type of pourous top, but you will need to be able to rinse your seeds several times every day and they will need to be drained.







Bleach water on seeds


This is where I added 1 teaspoon of bleach into 1 cup of hot tap water.  I swished it around and allowed it to sit for 15 minutes.  (Note the cloudiness of the water) This protected us from growing seeds with E coli.  After 15 minutes, I ran clean water over it until the bleach was completely removed.  Then I started the sprouting process.







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Here are the rinsed seeds, which are now covered in clean water.  The water is about 3 times the depth of the seeds and there is about 1 ½ tablespoons of Funugreek sprout seeds.  Allow the seeds to soak overnight or a minimum of 8-12 hours.  At this stage, keep the seeds away from direct sunlight.







pictures_with_words copy 12After soaking your seeds, you must now begin the rinsing and draining process.  You do not want your seeds to sit in water, but they must be kept very moist.  After rinsing the seeds well several times, I carefully poured out the water and gently spread the seeds out into this layer.









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I then placed the jar at an angle to make sure the seeds were not sitting in water.  I’m still keeping the seeds out of direct sunlight.   From this point until harvest, you will need to rinse and drain your seeds this way four times a day.  Remember, the seeds need to be kept moist but not allowing them to soak in any pooled water.







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Here is a close up view of the seeds beginning to give up their delicious sprouts.   This is only about 15 hours after I began.









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Continuing rinsing and draining, you see the quick growth only 24 hours after beginning the process.










Day two after rinsing and draining four times each day.  You can see how it grows so quickly and it is exponentially larger than in the beginning.






pictures_with_words copy 4Closer look after I drained and laid them out on their side making sure they are not in standing water.









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Day 3 and they are perfect!  They are firm, crunchy and full of flavor.






pictures_with_words copy 2This basket is the full yield of the 1-½ tablespoons of seeds I began only 72 hours ago.









You will do another good rinse that will remove the woody hulls.  I allowed them to drain completely and placed my sprouts in an airtight vegetable container.  They can be stored in the produce drawer in your refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

So you see how easy it is.  I now look forward to experimenting with many varieties of seeds and will expand it to be able to grow them from my 3 hens, too!  I hope this pictorial explains the ease of growing wonderful food on your counter right in your own kitchen.  Sprouts are great in soups, salads and sandwiches.  This variety has a strong flavor that I am going to use on my pizza this Friday!


Benefits of Sprouting

Sprouting Seeds for Food – Types of Seeds

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VasalineNo petroleum or harsh chemicals in this all natural vaseline.   Use it just as you would commercially produce, chemically latent vaseline. I added tea tree oil to mine for it’s antibacterial qualities. This is completely optional. If you want to scent yours with you favorite essential oil, that would be lovely, too.





1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2-3 Tbsp. Bees Wax


Melting Vasaline

Gently and carefully melt these two ingredients together. I do mine in the microwave on 30 second intervals. It will take 60 – 90 seconds.
Tea Tree Oil

Add your optional essential oil and allow it to cool.

This will safely keep for up to one year.

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Woman with Migraine

I suffer with chronic migraines.  I have been in this battle for 23 years.  I know exactly because I remember my 1st one like it was yesterday.

I picked up my son who was in kindergarden at that time.  I walked to the school because it was such a pretty day.  He and I played all the way home.  Barely over the threshold, it hit.  I felt like I just had an aneurism burst in my brain.  I literally crawled to the bathroom and began throwing up uncontrollably.  My little boy was crying until the vomiting subsided a little.  The whole time, I was in a panic mode.  However, I was trying to reassure my son “I was fine” but barely able to speak because of the excruciating  pain and agony.  So in my dark bathroom, I laid down on the cool floor next to the toilet in case the vomiting started back up.  The next thing I know, my little 5 year old little boy came into the bathroom with a blanket and a doll pillow.  He lifted my head and put this little pillow under it to make it softer, draped my torso with this little baby quilt and curled up against my back and took his nap like he was so accustom to doing at that time.  It lasted for several hours, but while I was in the midst of it, I was scared that I would actually die.  After all, I really did think it was an aneurism.

Obviously, I survived this terrifying and painful event.  After I realized I wasn’t dying, I concluded it was in fact a migraine.  My father suffered terribly from them for a period in his life when I was little.  A subsequent visit to my doctor confirmed it.

At first, the migraines came about every year, then every six months, then every month then and on and on until I was faced with a life consumed and destroyed by this curse.  Through the year, I have seen more specialists than I even knew where out there.  Lot’s of test, surgeries, hospital stays and too much caustic narcotics later, not one specialist could determine the triggers.  Even with all the meds they tried on me, nothing got them under control.  I was so medicated that I feel I lost several years of my life from living in my bed.

Then one day, I guess it was my Irish temper and pride rose up from inside and I took control.  The first thing was to get myself off of all the medication.  And guess what?  As fearful as the doctors were that I would become dependent, I wasn’t!  Did I suffer?  You bet.  Just getting all these chemicals out of my system was horrible.  I had as many headaches and suffered, but I wasn’t intoxicated.  After a few weeks, I started coming out of my room more and eventually suffered less.  After months, it got better.  Now years later, I’m doing pretty good.  I still have headaches, just not as bad or often.  I have injections for Imitrex and a non-narcotic pain reliever as a rescue, but even this much progress is leading me to do more.  That’s why I’m transitioning to herbal remedies for many health issues my family experiences.  Now I’m ready to tackle natural remedies for these headaches.  In doing a lot of research,  I found this information that I want to share with you.

My self-reliant life can’t help but anticipate a future that may or may not include access to professional, medical intervention.  I want to get back to the ways my grandparents did it.  Natural.

Here are some things I have and/or will be trying until I find what will work for me.



Traditional Chinese herbal medicine recommends ginger for headaches. Eat a small piece of fresh ginger root or make ginger tea from the fresh root or tea bags.

Coriander Seeds

An Aryuvedic treatment for sinus-related headaches is the steam inhalation of coriander seeds. Put the coriander seeds into a small bowl. Pour on some boiling water, drape a towel over your head and the bowl, and inhale the steam.


Celery contains phthalide which helps you to relax and be less anxious, which helps with pain. It is also rich in potassium which many headache sufferers are deficient in. Celery seeds can be used in smoothies/juices or soups. Taking 2 oz of celery juice and then laying down for 30 minutes has proven to be a very effective remedy for headaches.

Herbal Tea

Sitting down with a relaxing cup of mild herbal tea is often good for a tension headache. Good choices are peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, rose hip, lemon balm, or valerian root (may induce sleep). Additionally, adding cayenne pepper to your tea can help.

Vitamins and Minerals

Frequent headaches could be a sign that you are low on some important vitamins and minerals. Low levels of niacin and vitamin B6 can cause headaches. For example, all the B vitamins are needed to help combat stress and avoid tension headaches. The minerals calcium and magnesium work together to help prevent headaches, especially those related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Good sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale or broccoli, and beans and peas. Magnesium is found in dark green leafy vegetables, cacao, nuts, bananas, wheat germ, full spectrum salts, beans and peas.


The relaxing qualities of lavender oil make it a good treatment for a tension headache. This essential oil is very gentle and can be massaged in your temples, the base of your neck, or the base of your nostrils. Taking a bath with relaxing oils such as chamomile or ylang ylang will also help to soothe and relieve pain.

Emotional Freedom Technology (EFT – a.k.a Meridian Tapping)

The EFT tapping points align with particular acupuncture points along the meridians. EFT tapping techniques can help to remove emotional blockage in our body’s electrical or subtle energy system. EFT is referred to as ‘acupuncture without the needles’. For more information on EFT and where to find your meridian points, please visit The Tapping Solution.


In order to learn how to relax and cope with headaches, you need to become familiar with your own breathing patterns and change them in ways that will help you relax. We tend to hold our breath when we are anxious, stressed, or in pain. Below are a few relaxation exercises:

Rhythmic breathing

If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slowly then exhale slowly. Count slowly to five as you inhale, and then count slowly to five as you exhale. As you exhale slowly, pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes. Recognizing this change will help you to relax even more.

Deep breathing

Imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow exhalation, you should feel more relaxed.

Visualized breathing

Find a comfortable, quiet place where you can close your eyes, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination. Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Visualize your breath coming into your nostrils, going into your lungs and expanding your chest and abdomen. Then, visualize your breath going out the same way. Continue breathing, but each time you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in more relaxation. Each time you exhale imagine that you are getting rid of a little more tension.

These are just a few natural remedies. There are many more. However, prior to any of these recommendations, we should always ensure that we are getting enough pure water throughout the day. It seems simple, but dehydration is the leading cause of headaches. By simply drinking more water during the day, we may reduce the frequency of headaches and their debilitating effects.

Please note that some of the food items mentioned, such as bananas, cacao, and nuts can actually trigger headaches in some individuals. If this happens to you, don’t give up. With a little research, you will definitely be able to find the remedy that works best for you.

Trusting in our Natural Ability to Heal

Our bodies are an amazing design. If we allow ourselves to trust our bodies’ ability to heal itself, the results will be astounding. Let’s treat our body with the respect and loving care it deserves. If we do, symptoms such as headaches will occur much less frequently.

Via: Wake-Up World


1. Prescription for Nutrional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch
2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies; C. Norman Shealy

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The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices. These offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes.

Regardless if it is for gardening or crops, livestock (including backyard chickens), or help in running an efficient farm, your local Extension Office is an excellent and free place to start.  Click the USDA logo or here to find an office located near you.





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Weatherford TexasHere is a great article with information on the best places to live if you are a prepper or homesteader.  With our huge transition in retirement, we have our state chosen, but haven’t narrowed it down to which county.  In researching  our own move, I thought I would share this useful information so you might start your plans or compare your location to how it stacks up to what some think are great locations for our specific lifestyle needs.


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My Pantry ShelvesBuilding a home store has more advantages than you can imagine.  It’s a good concept, but certainly not new.  We are simply re-visiting ways our ancestors survived through droughts, winter storms and other severe weather.    Most of our parents or grandparents had root cellars or basements and would can foods to last them through the winter months.  It was vital to their survival to safely preserve and store food during the summer when it was abundant.  They didn’t have convenience foods and grocery stores to buy pre-packaged meals if their own supplies ran out.  They had to be diligent in food preservation, farming and complete self-reliance.  And basically, that’s what many people today are trying to get back to.

Most Americans have never seen our grocery supply interrupted except community-wide during major storms when shelves are stripped in less than 3 hours.  We have never faced an economic and financial collapse of the government, nor lived through a depression.  But in recent years we have seen how close we are to a collapse and how fragile our food and fuel supply is.  It has drawn a certain kind of American to re-visit how our parents or grandparents lived and are trying to emulate it as best we can.

THRIVE PantryAs with any significant lifestyle change, there are certain start-up costs.  However, in my own experience, I was able to recoup those costs and was quickly began seeing my grocery bill go down.   Some of your start up costs is as follows:

1)   Purchase of Freeze-Dried and powdered foods that allow for long-term shelf-stability.  You will begin to make your own spice mixes and blends, box dinners, powdered drinks, breads and more.

2)   Purchasing Canning Equipment & Supplies

  • Quality Pressure Canner ~ The American Canner is the arguably the best on the market.  It is metal on metal without the rubber ring which can eventually fail.  It’s more expensive, but will last generations.  You can look for them at garage sales, Craigslist and eBay.
  • Water Bath Canner ~ This is an inexpensive purchase.  I got my canner at Wal-Mart for around $20.  Subsequently, I purchased a Ball-brand plastic basket that easily fits into an average size stockpot.  It’s perfect for small batches of food.  It holds up to 3 quart jars.  I use it often for small batches of jellies and jams.
  • Canning jars and lids ~ While many supplies like you see in kits are very nice to have, you can get by with only a jar lifter tool. The very best prices to get these types of supplies is at seasons end in the late fall.  Also, always look at stores like Goodwill or Salvation army.  I find them on Craigslist and at garage and estate sales.  Normal retail prices vary on size of jars but full retail runs between $9-$12 per case.
  • Grain Mill ~ I purchased two inexpensive mills but quickly realized that they would be inadequate for my needs.  I want to grind my flour in large quantities and those of different sizes from small Quinoas to corn and red beans.  I researched it exhaustively.  But I finally settled on the highly reviewed Country Living Grain Mill.  Again, it’s one of the finer pieces of equipment and its’ cost is reflective of that.  It was about $500.  I wound up purchasing some accessories, which I wanted, but you can do without.  It’s price is consistent with other mills of this caliber, and in some cases costs less than some.   This grain mill will also be handed down from one generation to the next.  It is a manual fly-wheel design that can be altered to be electric.  I wanted one that did not rely on electricity.   And it is 100% USA made.
  • Dehydrator ~ Here, too I began on the cheap.  And I got what I paid for.  I purchased a used round dehydrator I bought on eBay.  I didn’t know enough about dehydrating at the time to realize it was an old model and incredibly inefficient for the volume of food I was dehydrating.  Newer versions of the round ones have more features and I see them used a lot on the You Tube videos I watch.  But it worked well enough to make me realize that dehydrating was going to save me a lot of money, especially from what I was spending on commercially processed dehydrated food.  I eventually moved up to buying the very best residential dehydrator on the market.  That is not just my opinion, you can Google reviews and come to the same conclusion.

You also will need to learn new prepping skills;

  • Gardening ~ Using heirloom seeds will allow you to harvest seeds so you will never need to purchase them again.  You can find endless blogs, FB Pages and articles to teach you ways and what to grow.  Even if you are in an apartment or small space, you can still grow food using raised beds or various containers.  Things like herbs can be grown on your windowsills indoors.
  • Canning ~ I found the first steps to learning to can were intimidating.  I had never canned before or been around a material figure who ever did it in my presence.  But canning has come a very long way.  It’s not to be feared.  It’s actually very easy, whether you pressure or water bath can.  Just follow the strict guidelines, watch demonstrations on You Tube and contact your local Extension office who often hold classes to teach you.
  • Dehydrating ~ Basically, dehydrating is simply cutting food into small slices or pieces and putting in the dehydrator.  Sometimes however, there are one or two steps to take before your food goes into the dehydrator.  Again, the internet is an vast world of information at your fingertips that will give you the particulars to being successful in drying your own food.
  • Cooking with food storage ~ This goes to my point of making some minor adjustments in preparations, but cooking much the same as you already do.

I was buying dry foods from companies we all see advertised all over prepper pages, blogs and other survivalist sites.  I purchased all those name brands, but didn’t know to do anything with them except stack them neatly in my long-term storage.  Only when I started buying THRIVE food from ShelfReliance did I start to understand that I was really wasting money by continuing to store their food while going to the grocery store and spending outrageous prices for packaged foods when I now had the same ingredients in my home that commercial processors use to make dry mixes and entree’s, but without the additives.  My THRIVE consultant and ShelfReliance’s website taught me how to save money by actually using their food in my “conventional” recipes.MyCanned Food

They also have a program called The Q.  This is where I was able to set a budget for buying Freeze-Dried and powdered food and ingredients.  I then went into start building my home store.  I went online and started shopping and picking out the products I needed in my store.  Some of the powdered foods and staples I put on my Q were these:

  •  Butter
  • Shortening
  • Honey
  • Instant & Powdered Milk
  • Cheese Powder
  • Eggs
  • Sour Cream
  • Chicken & Beef Bouillon

Some of the Freeze-Dried foods in my Q were these:

  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken
  • Sausage
  • Various Fruits
  • Ham
  • Instant Beans and Lentils
  • Vegetables (Example)
    • Corn
    • Green Beans
    • Peas
    • Onions
    • Green/Red Peppers
    • Carrots
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach

I set a budget of $200 per month based on my overall grocery budget.  You can go as low as $50.  Each month, I received an automatic shipment of foods from my Q.  But I made sure I checked their sales for the month to be sure to replace what I could wait on with what I needed that was on sale.  Within a few months, my home was bursting with #10 cans of healthy and delicious food.

I also decided to become a consultant for THRIVE last year which helps to reduce my expenses even more as I pay “employee” prices and earn credit and a small income which I use toward food and emergency supplies.  I have been able to buy the sun oven and rocket stove without actually breaking into my own money.

But THRIVE didn’t meet all my needs and I eventually learned of other resources to help my food budget.  The best one was my local LDS Cannery through the Latter Day Saints Church.  Now I buy my powdered milk, sugar, potato flakes and drink mixes through them.  Their prices can’t be beat.  But like with any company or organization, they have limits, too.  They don’t carry Freeze-Dried foods and no meat.  They offer only the very basic staples.

I’m now down to one grocery store trip a month.  And when I go, I’m very diligent in making a list and sticking to it.  I search for coupons and go to bulk stores to make the most of my budget.  Even when I don’t “need” frozen vegetables, if they are on sale I still buy them and immediately put them into my dehydrator and keep them in my pantry.   My food costs have gone down significantly and I rarely run out of anything.   And if I do, it’s just a matter of taking a moment to pull cans off my shelf and making another batch.

When it comes to milk, I have two little ones, 5 and 3 years old.  We go through a lot of instant milk.   I found it cheaper to make drinking milk from storage, even though it is more expensive per serving than fresh.  My reasoning is that to stop by the grocery store for a gallon of milk and even a loaf of bread always winds up being an armload (or more) of impulse purchases.  A quick stop to the store would always wind up costing $25 or even $100!  Impulse buys are killers of your tight budget.

Fiscal CliffBut with the political upheaval in D.C., I decided to take my regular Q deliveries of instant milk and stock them away.  If milk prices skyrocket as is predicted, I will pull them out.  But in the meantime, I will save my reserves until I need them more.  As long as prices remain stable, it’s wiser for me to buy fresh and save the instant.

I have several recipes posted on this blog.  These are mostly intended to use food storage.  You will find both mixes and meals.  I have many more recipes to share and post.  I will make a concerted effort to post more.

I grind my own flour, buy sugar in bulk to use in my kitchen pantry (different than my #10 cans in long-term storage), buy legumes and beans in large quantities and can or package them myself.

There are many families out there who also have home stores.  They may have built theirs differently, but this is how I built mine.  I made many mistakes along the way that were costly that I would have rather avoided, but were all good lessons.

Home Store

Click here to visit my THRIVE Store

But having your own store will require a different way of preparing your food.  Rehydrating dry food will require adjustments to liquids and a certain level of pre-planning to allow for the rehydration process.  It’s not like opening a can of corn and throwing it into a microwave.  I actually have very few “cans” of food on my shelves.  Not the kind of canned vegetables you see in about every kitchen across the country.  My cans are the big #10 size cans and the food inside is dry.  I have canning jars filled with fruit and vegetables I dehydrate myself.  I have canning jars filling my shelves with last summers peaches, beans, peas and pickles.  I even can a lot of meat.  I find I actually spend less time preparing meals because much of the work has already been done.

Below are either exactly or comparable with the equipment I have in my home.  It’s a lot of equipment and collectively it cost a lot of money.  But I did it one step at a time.  It took me about a year when my plan got on track.

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