Tuesday, November 22, 2016

10 Ethnic Grocery Items to Add to Your Disaster Food Stockpile

Pick up these items to add to your disaster food stockpile...

  1. Nido (or other full fat dried milk product.  The usual dried milk product you find in most stores is dried non fat milk.  In a disaster you will want the added fat.).
  2. Dried seaweed sheets (usually used for making sushi, the sheets can be torn up and added to soups and stews and are an excellent source of iodine).
  3. Teff flour (often used in Ethiopian breads, this flour is an excellent source of calcium and is gluten free for those with gluten sensitivities).
  4. Dried fish (dried fish products--which include everything from dried squid and anchovies to cuttlefish and herring--are an excellent source of protein).
  5. Powdered soup base (found in the Asian food section, dried miso or dried hon dashi which is a fish stock are a great addition to your powdered soup mixes plus they last a long time in storage).
  6. Dried fruit (expand your selection of "normal" dried fruit--like apples--with dried fruit from the international store which include dried banana chips, dried plums, dried mangoes, dried tamarind, etc).
  7. Seasoning packets (while you are at the international grocery store don't forget to pick up some interesting and unusual seasoning packets to add some flair to your food.  Exotic spices found in the Asian, Indian, Mexican, and European grocery aisle can add distinctive flavor to your run of the mill beans and legumes).
  8. Dried mushrooms (an excellent source of micro nutrients as well as a great way to jazz up soups and stews).
  9. Dried sausage and salami (found in Asian and European markets, dried sausage and salami can be kept for long periods of time at room temperature).
  10. Vitamin B12 (if, whether by choice or circumstance, you end up eating a vegan diet--meaning no animal products at all--you will need to supplement with vitamin B12, the only vitamin that can only be found in animal products).

Sunday, November 20, 2016

101 Preparedness Items from the Dollar Store

For those times when you have more desire to be prepared than actual money, here is a list of items you can pick up at your local Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, or 99 Cent store to see you through a variety of emergencies...

  1. Tarp
  2. Duct tape
  3. Para cord
  4. Matches
  5. Candles
  6. Flashlight
  7. Batteries
  8. AM/FM radio
  9. Aspirin
  10. Tylenol (or other pain reliever)
  11. Bandaids
  12. Antibiotic ointment
  13. Antihistamine tablets
  14. Other first aid items: Ace bandage, medical tape, gauze, etc.
  15. Instant ice packs
  16. Instant hand warmers
  17. Bleach (unscented)
  18. Bar soap
  19. Hygeine items: mirror, comb
  20. Rubbing alcohol
  21. Sharpies
  22. Scissors
  23. Utility knife
  24. Repair items: safety pins, paper clips, nails, wire, etc.
  25. Super Glue
  26. Glow In The Dark Bracelets
  27. Ear plugs
  28. Paper plates
  29. Paper/plastic cups
  30. Napkins
  31. Plastic utensils
  32. Ziploc bags
  33. Plastic food containers (with lids)
  34. Gardening gloves
  35. Toothbrushes
  36. Toothpaste
  37. WD40
  38. Lighters
  39. Whistle
  40. Hand sanitizer
  41. Tissue
  42. Rain poncho
  43. Emergency blanket
  44. Sewing kit
  45. Razors
  46. Magnifying glass
  47. Paper towels
  48. Plastic bucket
  49. Scrub brush
  50. Ammonia
  51. Latex gloves
  52. Steel wool pads
  53. Coffee filters
  54. Safety glasses
  55. Disposable filter masks
  56. Trash bags
  57. Nail clippers
  58. Dental floss
  59. Vitamins
  60. Vaseline
  61. Aluminum foil
  62. Cookware: baking pans, spatula, knife
  63. Can opener
  64. Sheet plastic: plastic table covers, shower curtains, etc.
  65. Latex balloons
  66. Safety flasher
  67. Fluorescent vest
  68. Basic tools (screwdriver, pliers, hammer, saw)
  69. Notebook
  70. Pens
  71. Pencils
  72. Padlock
  73. Bicycle lock
  74. Tool box
  75. Bungee cords
  76. Bandana 
  77. Sun glasses
  78. Laser pointer
  79. Solar yard light
  80. Clotheline/clothes pins
  81. Emergency cell charger
  82. Zipties
  83. Alcohol wipes
  84. Wet wipes
  85. Playing cards
  86. Kid's entertainment (games, puzzles, crayons, etc)
  87. Disinfectant cleaner
  88. Wire coat hangers
  89. Tote bags/daypack
  90. Plastic storage containers
  91. Bug spray
  92. Suntan lotion
  93. Food: spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc)
  94. Food: nuts and dried fruit
  95. Food: candy (chocolate, hard candy)
  96. Food: trail mix, jerky, nutrition bars
  97. Food: instant carbs (oatmeal, instant noodle soup, pasta)
  98. Food: canned goods (soup, spaghetti sauce, canned fish, canned meat, beans)
  99. Food: baking items (yeast, sugar, flour, oil, baking soda, baking powder)
  100. Beverages: tea, coffee, drink mixes, bottled water and juice
  101. Specials that rarely show up but that you should grab when they do: Pedialite, Thera Flu, Sterno
And a few caveats: most dollar store stuff is crap so if you can only afford a $1 knife get one but as soon as possible, upgrade.  Pay attention to sales at other stores as you can sometimes beat dollar store prices on many items (ie: baking soda for 59 cents, 69 cent canned goods, etc).  Pay attention to labels (I've found things at the dollar store that are expired, other things that are mismarked such as an ibuprofen pain reliever marked as aspirin--there's a difference.  And I am pretty particular about buying items, particularly food items, which are made in the US instead of China.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

A special thanks to all who have--or currently are--serving in the US Armed Forces.  It is not an easy life and it is usually a thankless job but our vets are the people who have held this country together over the past couple of centuries and they do an exceptional job (despite all of the political BS but that is another rant).  Hats off to all who have served and thank you for your service!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

First, Last, and Only Post About the Election

So I feel compelled to offer some words of wisdom (?) about the recent election and that will be the end of it as far as I am concerned...

  • It was quite the shocker.  Seeing all of those states turn red was rather surprising to everyone I think.
  • I wouldn't have been cheering no matter who won.  I thought our choices--for all of the parties--was rather dismal this go around.
  • I did vote however, as everyone should.
  • And although I am not a Hillary fan (I'm not a Trump fan either for that matter), her concession speech was the best speech I've heard in a long time.
  • I don't understand the protests going on after the election though.  Like much of the mindless protesting over the past year or so, what is the end game?  Do these people think that Trump will see all of the protests and relinquish his new post?  I don't think so.  And if using protests (which is their right) as an excuse to riot and cause violence to happen is the extent of their desire for protesting, well, as one meme (that I can't find now otherwise I would link to it) said, this is how you get Trump as a president since the vast majority of people are sick of that kind of crap.
  • The media was thoroughly awful this election season (I mean they always are but with so much in-your-face social media to add to the standard media awfulness I think that helped push people over the edge).
  • And hallelujah(!) no more political ads on TV.
  • As with any election, everyone needs to suck it up and become one group of people pulling for America again instead of being so hateful and divisive.
  • Plus we have a system of checks and balances for a reason.  Although Congress has allowed the Executive branch to trample over it with impunity for the past decade or so, they need to grow a pair (pairs?) and keep the Executive branch in check.
  • All isn't lost.  Individuals can still make a difference in everyday American life simply based on their choices.  Get involved in local politics and state politics as your state has just as much impact on your everyday life as the federal government.  Hold your elected officials responsible for their actions.  Encourage everyone else to vote.  Make your immediate community better, after all, you live here 24/7/365 so you might as well make it as nice as possible.
  • Keep on preppin.  No matter what happens, the basics are still the basics.  Having water during a drought, food during food shortages, a way to stay warm even if there is no power, etc. are still the necessities of life and the things you have the most control over.  Get out of debt, pay off your house, have money in savings, have multiple sources of income...you get the idea.
I'll hop off my soapbox now...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's the First Day of November...

...which means...

  • NaNoWriMo starts today.  If you have always wanted to write a novel this may be the impetus you need to get busy (and with self publishing being easier than ever why not give it a shot?).
  • Daylight savings time ends this weekend.  Set your clocks back on Saturday night for those of you where "spring forward, fall back" is a thing.
  • Thanksgiving (in the US) will take place in a few weeks.  Instead of scrambling with the crowds to gather the food you need for the holiday feast a few days before the event, write out your holiday meal list then buy the ingredients you need each time you go to the store (start with canned and boxed items like stuffing and cranberry sauce then get the fresh items like rolls and vegetables closer to the holiday).  And be careful if you plan on deep frying your turkey.
  • Christmas is also right around the corner so if you haven't started yet, buy gifts, a few at a time starting now, so you don't end up overwhelmed (and deeply in debt) because you end up buying last minute gifts for full price.
  • It's been a mild autumn but the Old Farmers Almanac is predicting a pretty brutal winter so all the preps you can get in now will be well worth it when the worst of the weather hits.  Stockpile food and water and toilet paper and all of the other things people run out to the store for right before a forecasted storm hits.  Make sure your alternate heating and cooking sources are working.  Add insulation, clean out the gutters, and generally get your house in order as soon as possible.
  • Make it a goal to clear out at least one of your debts before the end of the year.  The overall goal is to be debt free but if you aren't quite there yet, pick up some extra gigs, get gazelle intense, and get yourself financially solvent as soon as possible.
  • And here is a fun way to dispose of your Halloween pumpkins (if you happen to have easy roof access and a vat of liquid nitrogen handy).

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A News Round Up

It's been a pretty busy week, news-wise...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

10 Lessons from Hurricane Matthew

Fortunately the direct hit to Florida from Hurricane Matthew didn't happen.  It was still a good learning experience, however.  Here are ten lessons learned from Hurricane Matthew...

  1. Prepare NOW for the next hurricane and/or natural disaster that will happen.  There is no excuse to be playing tug-o-war over the last loaf of bread at your local grocery store, a couple of hours before a hurricane is set to make landfall.  This is what stores looked like just before Hurricane Matthew was set to hit Florida last week.  By stockpiling food and supplies now, purchasing plywood to board up your windows now, and (safely) storing extra fuel for your vehicle now, you won't be one of the people left with scraps when the next disaster happens.
  2. Double up your emergency fund.  Here is what it cost one family to evacuate Hurricane Matthew.  A lot of poor people were SOL when it came to evacuating simply because they had to money to do so.  Fortunately the emergency planners in Florida were made aware of this sort of situation after Hurricane Katrina and were able to use school buses to take people to shelters who would have otherwise been unable to evacuate due to having no vehicle or having no money for gas.
  3. I can't believe people would say that since they evacuated and nothing happened this time, they won't be evacuating again.  In the world of preparedness, 'plan for the worst and hope for the best' is the attitude to have.  This was an excellent way for people to test their evacuation preps, and most people were only inconvenienced and not seriously injured or killed--that is an excellent result.  I highly recommend following government orders to evacuate, even if it seems like in the past, out of an abundance of caution, the powers that be have "cried wolf" a time or two.  The time you don't evacuate could be the time your area gets a direct hit from a Cat 5 hurricane.
  4. And realize that disaster forecasting isn't an exact science.  While disaster forecasts may be completely off (like the recent warning about a major earthquake which was to hit the southern California area) or they may be slightly off (Florida didn't sustain a direct hit from Matthew as was forecasted) at least people get some sort of warning ahead of time (which is better than the alternative).
  5. While we are fortunate to live in a large enough and rich enough country that a hurricane such as Matthew can have a nearly immediate emergency response, that infrastructure can be put back together rapidly, and that there are places to easily evacuate to for safety, other countries such as Haiti are not so fortunate.  This is the initial after action report from Haiti.  Read and learn from this.
  6. When it comes to priorities for preparedness, the lives of you are your family are paramount.  Stuff can be replaced but people can't.  There will always be some scumbags who take advantage of other people's misery, but staying home during a mandatory evacuation order just to protect your stuff isn't worth it.  This is where good insurance--and a good inventory system--comes into play.  Of course a good video surveillance system is also a way to protect your stuff (well, not so much protect as to capture photos of looters which can be used for later apprehension and prosecution).
  7. And for the love of all that's holy, DON'T DRIVE THROUGH FLOOD WATERS.  People often associate the power of a hurricane blowing people away (or blowing things into people) for deaths directly related to hurricanes but drowning actually kills the most people during and after a hurricane.
  8. After the preparedness and the evacuation, you will come home when given the all clear.  But your work isn't done yet.  Generally after any sort of disaster you will need to clean up and repair/rebuild what was destroyed (often with less that normal services available such as no power even after the disaster has passed).  Be sure to have clean up supplies and tools on hand for use when you return.
  9. And even though Hurricane Matthew focused a lot of the nation's attention on Florida, much of its damage has been felt further up the coast.  This goes to show that while the national news can give you an overview of what is happening, you really need to pay attention to local news sources (local TV news, local newspapers, local social media reports from the DEM, law enforcement, etc) and react accordingly to what is happening in your immediate area.
  10. Finally, I found this little gem of a website when keeping updated on the hurricane...marine traffic in real time.  Fascinating.