Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Emergency Preparedness- What's in my Bug Out Bag and Emergency Preparedness Kit?

Hi everyone! I'm back after almost a year off! My blog posts came to a halt after getting pregnant with baby boy number two and I wasn't feeling so well. Baby boy is here and well, and growing much too quickly for this mama! I've been working on several projects and after a few questions on what I'm putting together for emergency situations, I decided to just blog it out!

We are living in very uncertain times. We don't know what is around the corner with disease outbreaks and terrorists attacks. My husband and I have been wanting to start emergency prepping for about a year now, and with recent events, we decided to take the plunge and get started. I have been doing a lot of reading and realize that this isn't something we are going to be able to do overnight! There are a lot of items to stock up on and it would be very costly to do all at once. I will be sharing resources that I am utilizing, what we are starting to stock, and I will try to update on our prepping as the littles allow.

The first things I have started stocking are our Essential Oil/Medical Kit and our Bug Out Bags (BOB).  We use Young Living essential oils and these are the oils that I have added to my kit:
I have included the links so that you may read a snippet about each oil. I use these oils for many different ailments and may leave certain items out of my first aid kit because I use an oil instead. Green Thickies does a good job of listing each oils purpose. Although, I do have some on my list that are not listed there. Feel free to ask how I use it. Please educate yourself on each oil before using it, especially on children, as essential oils are natural, but very powerful. Learning About EOs is a great unbiased resource. Other resources are Essential Oils Pocket Reference, Gentle Babies, and Essential Survival books, which are all Young Living (YL) based. To store all my oils and some other items, I purchased a small fishing tackle box that works quite well.

The list of items for a medical kit can be extensive and dependent on your first aid skill level. I will share what is going in our kit and share links at the end to what others have in their kits. To get us started until we get our full kit put together, we have purchased the Sportsman Medical Kit. This will also pull double duty in my husband's hunting bag (which is also his BOB). I can not say enough good things about this kit! It comes with a little bit of everything and was a great price for what came in it. I hope to do an unbiased review on it very soon!

Our MEDICAL KIT contains:

Allergies, Bug Bites, Rashes:
  • CJ's BUTTer
  • Coconut Oil
  • Essential Oils (Lavender, Purification, Frankincense)
  • Saline nasal spray (also use for washing/irrigating wounds)
Children's Items
  • Arnica tabs
  • Baltic Amber teething necklace
  • Children's Tylenol or Motrin (We only use as a last resort.)
  • Coconut oil
  • Essential Oils (Lavender, Peace & Calming, Pine, Orange, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Frankincense)
  • Nosefrida nasal aspirator for children
  • Saline nose drops
  • Stickers/Suckers for distraction
Ear, Nose, Throat & Eyes
  • Essential Oils (Thieves)
  • Extra contact lenses and/or glasses
  • Eye drops
  • Saline for contacts
Fever & Pain
  • Epsom salts
  • Essential Oils (Lemon, Peppermint, Copaiba, PanAway)
  • Heat Packs
  • Ibuprofin or Tylenol (We only use as a last resort.)
  • Thermometers
Sprains & Breaks
Stomach & GI Issues
  • Acidophilus Probiotic
  • Activated Charcoal capsules
  • Anti-Diarrhea medication
  • Essential Oils (DiGize, Peppermint, Lemon)
  • Ginger
  • Oscillococcinum
  • Essential Oils
  • Feminine care products (pads and tampons can also be used in first aid situations)
  • Nursing pads
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Anything else you would personally need/use
Wound Cleaning/Dressing/Burns
Prescription Medication
  • Any meds that you normally take
I have based this Medical Kit list off one from Busy B Homemaker and chose which items I would put in my Medical Kit as well as adding items that are important for me to have on hand. I will come back and update as I add items or remember things I may have forgotten to include, so bookmark this post and check back!

 Ideally we will be able to place small amounts of at least most of these items in our BOBs. That is why I really like the Sportsman Medical Kit because it contains many of these items in one small case. I have all my oils in the fishing tackle box and will be able to add some medications and slip that whole box in my BOB.

Other items to add to your BOB:
  • Backpack- A nice quality hiking pack is the first thing you will need. For smaller framed people/women, I suggest the High Sierra 35-55L internal frame pack, depending on how large of a pack you want. I found these to be very comfy and I have a very small frame. My husband has a larger frame and he chose this hunting pack to use as his BOB and hunting pack.
  • Bandanas
  • Binoculars
  • Bungee cords
  • Cash and coins
  • Carabiners
  • Castile Soap
  • Compact Fishing Kit
  • Compass and map of area
  • Cooking Set
  • Copy of important legal documents in waterproof bag
  • Cornstarch (can be used as dry shampoo, burn treatment and for insect bites)
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency whistle
  • E-tool (or trowel)
  • Extra Clothing- especially wool socks
  • Fire starter- we chose this Swedish Fire Steel with Emergency Whistle
  • Firearms, holsters, and ammo
  • Foam pad
  • Food and snacks
  • Glow sticks
  • Handsaw
  • Hat
  • Hatchet
  • Hunting knife
  • LED Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Mirror
  • Multi-tool
  • Pad paper & pen
  • Plastic Bags
  • Pocket radio- preferably solar crank
  • Propane fuel stove
  • Rubber bands
  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Signal flares
  • Sleeping bag
  • Spool of rope (100+ feet)
  • Sun block- I highly recommend Badger's
  • Sunglasses
  • Tarp
  • Tent
  • TP
  • Two-way radios
  • Wash cloth and hand towel
  • Water bladder or bottle
  • Water filter supplies
  • Waterproof watch

I got ideas for my BOB based on a post at Ready Nutrition. The items you choose may differ from mine.

Your child can have their own BOB too! Their age, of course, will dictate what goes in the bag and the size of pack they can carry. The Freedom Prepper has prepared a great list by age for children's BOB. My youngest is under two, so all his items will go in my bag with some things. My three year old will have his own bag. I will list below what I have chosen for their bags. For other ideas and ages, please visit The Freedom Prepper.

Age 0-2:
  • Baby wipes
  • Baby Blanket
  • Diapers (if not potty trained). We use cloth and have chosen flour sack towels (or flats) and diaper covers because they can be hand washed and line dried very quickly and easily.
  • Ergo carrier or carrier of choice. If you want a pack/carrier combo, the Osprey Poco Premium is a really great choice. 
  • Clothing, shoes, socks, mittens, hats
  • Coconut oil and diaper rash cream. I love CJ's BUTTer.
  • Food/Snacks depending on age. My babe is currently EBF so no packing these items for us yet!
  • N95 type masks- in appropriate size to help reduce exposure to microorganisms/dust
  • Small toys/teethers
  • Teething relief
Check these items monthly to be sure they are age appropriate as babies grow and develop so quickly at this point.

Age 3-5 can carry a small, lightweight pack. These items should go in their pack:
  • Blanket
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Emergency Whistle
  • Flashlight
  • Identification and family photo. Teach them how to use this information only if they are separated from you.
  • N95 type masks- to help reduce exposure to microorganisms/dust
  • Small first Aid kit (with age appropriate items)
  • Small toys
  • Two-way radio
  • Water bottle w/water
Other BOB items for kids. Add them to your pack if they cannot carry them.
  • 3 Pairs Underwear
  • 3 Pairs Socks
  • Extra Clothing
  • Extra Shoes
  • Gloves & Hat
  • Bar Soap in a plastic bag with washcloth and hand towel.
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste or Tooth Powder
  • Wet wipes
  • Water Filtration Supplies- make sure they know how to use it.
  • Food/snacks- Survival Gear Guru has great ideas for what to include
  • Glow sticks
  • Headlamp
  • Emergency blanket
Be sure to check out The Freedom Prepper for more.

Other notable reads for emergency preparedness/prepping and BOBs:
I really hope you enjoyed reading this post. I am not an expert on this subject, just a mama who wants to be prepared. Please do your research before using any items listed. I hope to keep updating as we keep prepping so stay tuned! I also hope I didn't leave too much out of this post as I had to rewrite it due to it getting seized in cyberspace! I will update if I realized I left something off! Feel free to let me know what else you would add to your kit/BOB!

Amazon Affiliate:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Photo credits:
First Aid: photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mag3737/262200284/">mag3737> via http://photopin.com">photopin> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc>
Rucksack: photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mthurber/5166598155/">Michael Thurber
via http://photopin.com">photopin> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc>

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Citrus Lane September Box Review

Greetings! I am going to start adding Citrus Lane box reviews to my blog because the boxes are just so much fun and because so many people either don't know what it is, or wonder if it is worth the money. My friend referred me to Citrus Lane. Her son and mine got their first boxes this month. They are close in age, right around 2 years old, so they get the same box. If you aren't familiar with Citrus Lane, they send monthly boxes with age appropriate goodies for your little one (baby to age 3) and a little something for mommy! They are just so much fun and they send wonderful items. Here is our first box:

 He was pretty curious about what was in the box. He took his time removing each item. THEN, he found food! Exciting, right! There was Super Toddler Bar from Happy Family. When they say "Super", they aren't lying! This bar was huge and it was organic! Even better! He scarfed it down after sharing a bite with mommy and daddy. It really was delicious and like I said, it was really large.

Another item included was a charming board book, "Charlie Harper ABC's" from Ammo Books. The illustrations in this books are absolutely beautiful. We love to read, so this was definitely nice to receive this.

There was also a 3.4 oz. tube of Playful Wash from Episencial, which doesn't sound big, but it was a good size tube. My son was excited to play with this for some reason. This is a wonderful smelling wash that contains tangerine oil , aloe, and calendula. I particularly love it because it rinses quickly (and I mean quickly!) from hair and doesn't burn the eyes. My son hates having his hair rinsed, so this is a great wash for him! We love the smell too!

The last item for him was a set of City Planner Blocks from Hape Toys. These are so neat. None of us could stop playing with them! We enjoyed making all sorts of different towers with them. They are brightly colored which makes them even more fun!

Mom's goody this month was a bottle of nail color from Julep. Mine was a beautiful dark, rich shade. I love it.

Also included were coupons and coupon codes for each item that was included in the box.

So was it worth it? Let's do the math.

Charlie Harper ABC Book- $7.96 (Amazon)
City Planner Blocks- $9.99 (Amazon)
Playful Wash- $9.00 (Episencial)
Super Toddler Bar- $0.84 (Amazon)
Nail Color- $14.00 (Julep)

Total= $41.79

I would say that is a pretty good deal considering the cost of the box is regularly $25. I had a referral from a friend which made my box even cheaper, so I'm totally happy with our first box.

If you would like to try Citrus Lane for your little one, you can use my referral code and get $10 off your first box. Try it out! I know you will like it! It makes a great gift from grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles too!

Use this link for your referral: https://www.citruslane.com/invitedby/Anna.Clark.1921237

Thanks and have a great day!

Momma Makes it Better!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homemade Ranch Dressing

 Good bye bottled Ranch dressing! You are going to absolutely LOVE this homemade Ranch dressing. It is simple to make and you can make it full fat or light. I of course make it full fat, because well, that is just what I do. I don't buy low fat or skim products due to the fact that they have to replace that fat with something else, usually a high sugar carbohydrate, as I learned in my college Food Science courses. And you can forget artificial sweeteners! No thanks. I'll take the real thing. 100 Days of Real Food has a snippet on why to not choose the low-fat versions. Check your labels before you buy. You may not realize what you are actually getting. Ok, end rant. Back to the Ranch. Go make some!
First, you will need to make the seasoning mix. This can be used to season other things as well, not just to make the dressing, so it is handy to have in the cupboard. There are two recipes below. One is for a small supply, and one is for a larger bulk supply to keep on hand. Caffeinated Chronicles was nice enough to break the larger recipe down from The Crafty Blog Stalker. Choose whichever you wish.

Small Batch
2 1/2 T Parsley Flakes
1 1/2 T Onion powder
1 T Garlic Salt
 1/2 T Black Pepper
 1/2 T Garlic Powder
3/4 t Sea Salt
3/4 t Dill Weed

Large Batch
1 1/2 C Parsley Flakes
3/4 C Onion Powder
1/2 C Garlic Salt
1/4 C Black Pepper
1/4 C Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Dill Weed

Now to make the dressing. This is the mixture that I have come up with and think is the best tasting. I have tried other mixtures from other blogs and mine mixture is my favorite, go figure. Mix together:

2 Tbsp. prepared seasoning mix
1 C Sour Cream
1 C Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2-1 1/4 C Whole Milk (Depending on desired thickness and taste. Start with 1/2 C and add from there.)

There are many ways you can make this dressing. This recipe is how I make it, but you can experiment using any combination of milk, buttermilk, plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, and mayo. I will add that I do not care for it with buttermilk in it. It is too sour for my taste.

I really hope you enjoy this Ranch Dressing. We find it to be delicious!

Momma Makes it Better!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sausage Balls

Here is a great recipe to use with your homemade All-Purpose Baking Mix! We scarf these little goodies down at my house and they are really easy to make. I found the original recipe at Plain Chicken and we have been enjoying them ever since. They would be perfect for a party, picnic, or pot luck, but we just can't wait for such an occasion to arise, so we make them for dinner and serve them with a few side dishes to make a meal. The recipe below is fairly plain and simple. Keep in mind that these would be amazing with other items added in, such as diced apples or onions. You could also use different seasoned sausages or your favorite cheese.

Here is what you will need:
  • 1 pound bulk sausage, uncooked
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 4 oz. cheddar, grated (Yes, grate your own cheese. Much better and less additives!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients until well combined. I use my hands.
Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a jelly roll pan sprayed with olive oil.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

I hope you enjoy these! They are absolutely amazing!!!

Momma Makes it Better!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

All-Purpose Baking Mix

Here it is! This is the recipe I was so excited to share! Yes, baking mix! We have several recipes that we just couldn't stand to give up, but I am not too impressed with the ingredients in the boxed all-purpose mix from the store.

Needless to say, I was beyond stoked to see that one of my favorite blogs has a recipe for a DIY All-Purpose baking mix. Thank you DIY Natural!

So here is my version of the recipe. For the original organic version, please visit DIY Natural. Go make some now!

  • 6 cups flour- I use 3 cups whole wheat and 3 cups all-purpose
  • 1/4 cup Aluminum-free baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup cold butter-Yes, butter-no margarine please (Yuck)!
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut cold butter into small pieces and add to dry mixture. Cut butter into mixture using a pastry blender or fork (I use my hands and it is much easier for me) until butter is thoroughly incorporated.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Mixture will keep until the expiration date on the butter that you used. You may want to mark that date on your storage container.

Now how easy is that! Plus, you don't have all those nasty added ingredients!

I will post some recipes using this great baking mix in the near future. Until then, you can check out DIY Natural for a biscuit and pancake recipe. Happy cooking!

Momma Makes it Better!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Absolutely Perfect and Easy Pizza Dough

Disclaimer: This recipe uses white flour! I have not tried it yet with whole wheat, but I will be experimenting with it soon.

So now that you have read the disclaimer and are okay with the fact that this recipe uses white flour (I know it's bad, but this recipe is oh so good), get ready to make a dough that comes out perfect every time! I have to give all the credit to Lauren's Latest for creating this superb recipe! She has far more amazing photos than I do and if you want step by step photos, check out her page.

Here is what you will need:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups bread flour (give or take- I use all-purpose and it turns out perfect)

I use a stand mixer set with a dough hook, but a large bowl and spoon will work too. Stir yeast and honey into warm water. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it begins to bubble or foam. Add salt, oil, and half of the flour. Mix. Once that flour is incorporated, begin adding the remaining flour until you get a consistency that is slightly tacky, but does not stick to your hands. Lauren's Latest has great pics of this. Once the dough has reached desired consistency, knead in the mixer (or by hand) for 6 minutes (maybe longer if hand kneading). Yes, 6 minutes. Set a timer. I promise the ends results will be worth the effort of timing it. My son loves staring at the mixer going around and around for 6  whole minutes, so this provides toddler entertainment as well. :) After 6 minutes in the mixer, the dough should be very smooth and elastic. The bowl should be clean. Lightly grease bowl and dough. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours, or until double in size. Then it is ready to be rolled out and used. Makes about a pound of dough.

For pizza: I sprinkle cornmeal on parchment paper and then roll my dough into a circle on that. That makes it really easy transfer to my pizza stone. I preheat my oven to 400-500 degrees F with my stone inside (I prefer 400 degrees. 500 will make a much more crunchy crust). Top with all of your yummy toppings and transfer to stone (simply lift parchment paper and put directly on stone. Easy!). Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.


Momma Makes it Better!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I started making all of our bread and such at home, from scratch. This is what prompted me:

I found this bag of store bought bread in the back of my pantry. We had opened it several weeks earlier and didn't use it all. Still looks pretty good, right? That is what freaked me out. This opened package of bread had been sitting there for weeks and was still soft and had not signs of mold. I am concerned as to what additives and preservatives are being added to our foods and what they are doing to our bodies. This is why we are trying to make as many things from scratch as possible, to cut out these additives and preservatives.

So now I had to find a bread recipe. I wanted one that didn't use white flour and had as few ingredients as possible. I stumble upon the perfect recipe at Make it Love it Share it. There is a dandy recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread. I decided to give it a try and it is what I have been making ever since. No bagged store bought bread has found its way into my house. Not a hot dog bun, hamburger bun, or tortilla! Be sure to check out my homemade whole wheat tortilla post. Now on to making this delicious bread!

You will need:
  • 3 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 cups really warm water
  • 1/2-3/4 cup honey
  • 10- 11 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground, if possible-I don't have a grinder, unfortunately, so I just buy already ground flour)
  • 3 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4-1 cup add-ins, if desired: oats, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. (I use oatmeal because I love it and for its health benefits. I would love to find ground flax seeds around here because I love those too.)
  • olive oil (I have mine in a stainless cooking oil sprayer as an alternative to commercial cooking sprays. I LOVE it!)
Now to make your delicious bread:
  1. If you need to grind your wheat, do so now. Otherwise move ahead.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl, if not using a mixer), add water, yeast and honey. Mix well and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until a bubbly foam appears.
  3. Add flour. I attach the dough hook and stir while adding flour. I add all 10 cups, 1/2 cup repetitively, until all 10 cups are in. I have never needed the extra 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Add salt and any of your add-ins and mix gently until incorporated.
  5. Knead in the mixer for 4-6 minutes (maybe longer if hand kneading). I usually set it at speed 4-6 for this and let it do the work. This is a sticky dough. Knead just until it pulls away from the bowl.
  6. Let dough rise for 15 minutes.
  7. Grease the back of your hand and punch down the dough really well.
  8. Form into loaves. I shape mine into a large loaf on the counter and cut into 3 pieces with a large bread knife.
  9. Put loaves into 3 greased pans. I don't have 3 loaf pans so I use what I have. 
  10. Let rise in pans for 30 minutes. (*Tip from Make it Love it Share it: Let dough rise in the microwave with a steaming cup of water, microwave off, of course. This works great.)
  11. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes. (*Tip from Make it Love it Share it: Put a large glass baking dish of water on the bottom rack while baking the bread. I do it and my bread comes out perfect.)
  12. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

For additional pictures during each step, visit Make it Love it Share it.


Momma Makes it Better!