PreparedChristians

7 Things to Do or Encourage in the New Year

While this is a basic list, it bears repeating.  As you read through these suggestions make note of where you have been deficient or haven’t really started. 

1.  Simplify your life.  Get back to basics:  Put God first, turn off the TV, read your Bible daily and classic books, listen to good music, learn how to really talk with people, spend more time with family, and start a modest exercise plan.  The more you do these things, the more you grow in all the relationships that truly matter and improve your health.  You’d be surprised how much more you can do when you stop watching so much television or Internet.

2.  Skills.  Learn or refine basic skills that will save you money.  For example:

            ●  Start growing your own food now!  Whether you own a home or rent, everyone should learn how to grow vegetables.  There’s a learning curve to gardening, so the sooner you start the better.  You may need to study ways to grow food in small spaces, in containers, and types of gardening in larger spaces, such as hügelkultur, row crops and how to plan a large garden.  You can start sprouting and grow micro-greens at home even during the winter.  Figure out what will work best for your situation.  This skill will become much more important as inflation begins to go into double-digits in 2022. 

            ●  Learn how to cook from scratch.  Commit to eliminating overly-processed food from your diet. Make it a goal to learn one new scratch recipe each month.  Start with baking your own bread.  This one skill alone can save you $2-$3 a loaf or more.  Depending on how much bread you consume, this can really save you money.  But don’t stop there!  Your cooking skills should include learning to make healthy soups, stews and casseroles from scratch.  There are so many quality meals you can make from less-expensive foods that are still very nutritious and so much better for you.  Added benefit:  The more you learn to cook from scratch, the less you spend on groceries. 

            ●  Learn basic car repair.  Learn to fix a flat tire, do an oil change, and tune-up. If you already know how to do these things, then expand your car repair skills and learn how to fix brakes, install a new fan belt, etc.  

            ●  Learn a variety of other skills such as how to repair a lamp, build a rocket stove from fire bricks, basic woodworking, knitting, make baskets, weave rugs, welding, etc.  Start by reading about these skills from books at your local library.

3.  Start a basic food storage program to stay ahead of inflation.  This can be done inexpensively if you know how to scratch cook.  Invest in half-gallon (64 ounce) and quart (32 ounce) size canning jars, lids and rings.  Buy your scratch cooking ingredients and dry can the dry ingredients.  Example:  if you learn to bake your own bread, you can buy 2 or more bags of flour and dry can it in the larger jars.  If your family eats a lot of baked goods, then purchase flour in bulk sizes and learn to put it by in food-safe buckets and Mylar bags.  A modest investment can save you so much on your grocery bills, especially as inflation continues to rise.  Start keeping track of how much you eat and work out a budget to save enough to store a month’s worth of extra food ingredients (if you can’t afford that much, start by saving enough food for a week’s worth of meals).   However you start, work towards building up your larder so that you can prepare meals with what you have on hand and only need to replace what you’ve used.  I did this and it cut my grocery bill for 2 people down from $400 a month to $200 a month.  This effort alone can help you survive longer without the total reliance of “just in time” grocery deliveries and food chains that are now breaking.  

4.  Start a side business for profit and barter.  Be mindful it should be a business that is not dependent on the Internet so no one can the pull the plug on it.  Offer a grass mowing or babysitting service, do sewing repair, or a garage, house or laundry cleaning service – anything you can do for extra income or to use as barter for other goods or services.  This will become even more important as the government controls more and more of our banking and economic system in 2022.

5.  Connect with your community and get active.  It’s time to get out of your shell and join a community group, and shop at co-ops, Farmers Markets and garage sales.  Start regularly attending a good church.   Join a fraternal organization that does things for your community.  Get involved helping at a food pantry, a homeless shelter, or animal shelter.  Come up with ways to raise funds for these organizations that do so much for your area.  The connections you make with your effort will become more important as government exerts more control.

6.  Prepare for power outages, new pandemics, and more civil unrest.  Acquire the tools you need to stay warm and prepare meals should the power go out for an extended period of time.  Stock up on Vitamin D, Vitamin C and other supplements to keep your immune system healthy.  Be prepared to deal with ever-expanding civil unrest.  Lawlessness is increasing and you need to be prepared to protect yourself and those you love.  This may mean relocation to a safer area, buying a firearm or other self defense weapons, and learning how to use them properly.  Reinforce your home’s doors and windows by replacing the short screws holding the front and back doors in place in the door frames, with 2 “ – 3” inch-length screws.  Doors can be protected from being kicked in by installing a 2×4 board held in place across the door by two L -brackets. Check out this article – 50+ Basic Preps You’re Probably Not Thinking About.

7.  Stay informed but don’t live inside their media and world-view bubble.  The more you detach from planned narratives and propaganda, the healthier and wiser you become.  Stay as independent as possible by connecting even more with God, your community, real friends,  neighbors and family.   

Author: This is a guest post by Dare Tuitt

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Preparing the Unprepared: Practical, Prepared Presents

The holiday season is here.  Time for the annual dilemma of what to get for (fill in the blank), who has everything.  One more tie for dad?  Another pair slippers for mom?  A generic gift card for your aunt or uncle?  Why not give a prepared present that helps friends and family members become better prepared for life’s eventual curve balls, without being “that prepper person” that elicits the slight shake of the head or the eye roll?

Since some of us have developed a reputation for being the tinfoil hat-wearing, conspiracy theorist, crazy person, we might as well embrace it.  However, giving a bucket of 25-year shelf stable food would be considered odd to say the least (although I would appreciate it).  So how do we help those that don’t see the need for preparedness despite the writing on the wall?  And here at the end of 2021, the wall writing is everywhere.  Heck, even the main stream media is reporting on it.  Yet there are still those friends and family members that, despite the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, continue to live oblivious to the signs that only having this week’s groceries in the house is not a particularly smart idea.  Short of staging an intervention, there’s not much that is going to convince them otherwise, so stealth is necessary.

Helping our non-prepping friends and family without shoving preparedness in their face requires some creativity.  Here are some ideas that are “Prepper Friendly” without being over-the-top-in-your-face preparedness gifts.  This list is not just for Christmas.  This can easily become a yearlong endeavor to sneak a little prep into the lives of others that matter to us; think housewarming gifts, birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day, anniversaries, etc.

Prepper Friendly Gifts – Prepared Presents

  • Knives or Multi-tools – who wouldn’t enjoy having a beautiful and useful knife?  The selection of knives is nearly endless.  Consider the hand size of the individual you are shopping for and the potential uses.  Swiss army knives are great for general use and present a myriad of other implements.  Multi-tools are essential to have in every household vehicle and they make great stocking stuffers.
  • Oil Lamps – You could go for a vintage antique look, or one of the more contemporary designs. Look for these lamps at flea markets, yard sales, or antique stores.  Not only are they beautiful, but they can light a room and throw off a little heat during a power outage.  If you are giving the lamp, don’t forget a spare wick and a bottle of lamp oil.
  • Mini car battery starter packs – these are so nifty and can really save the day.  To look at them, you’d never think they could jump your car, but they can.  Lots of options to choose from and plenty of great reviews. 
  • Phone size solar chargers/power banks – these are so handy.  I keep one on the dashboard of my car constantly.  Not only can I drop it in my pocket when I jump out of the car for a hike or a long store visit, it comes in handy for the back seat video gamers.  I don’t have cords wandering through seats and fights about who needs the car charger slot more.  Mom always wins that argument as the GPS trumps all video gaming and music streaming.

Note:  I’m in the northeast and these hold up well on my dashboard.  Your local dashboard temperature on a summer day should be taken into consideration, although most of them are designed to take those kind of temperatures.

  • Candles – You can pick up candles anywhere.  You can purchase them from Yankee Candle, your local Wal-Mart, Ollies, and most odd-lot stores.  Dollar Tree and General Dollar have ridiculously long burning alter candles for a buck.  Wrap them in twine, decorate them, sticker them, glitter them, or personalize them and hand them out!  There are lots of DIY boards about decorating the candles, including this one here.
  • Battery or solar powered lamps.  This may seem obvious if given alone, but combine it with some additional small camping items and it’s disguised as a camping lantern for their next excursion into the woods!
  • AAA Memberships – either buy them one or renew it for them.  This is as basic for preparedness as it comes.  These are especially helpful for those who may not have the physical prowess to change their own tire if needed.  Add your kids to your program and sleep better knowing they can have a flat fixed, a tow, a lockout opened, or gas delivered when they are stranded.  My kids all called me after they used it for the first time providing the entire story of how they did it themselves and how quick it was. 
  • Sam’s Club, BJ’s, or Costco membership – these memberships nearly pay for themselves with just the gasoline discount.  By their nature, these clubs encouraged stocking up since it is rare to find things in smaller quantities.  A side note, watch their flyers for tire sales which include stems and mounting and free rotations as long as you watch your mileage and come in on time!
  • Mini survival kits – for the DIYer’s, grab an Altoids or Sucrets tin and create a mini emergency kit for a backpack or purse.  You can find lots of these online or on Pinterest.  It’s amazing how many handy and “save the day” items you can fit in these little boxes.
  • Crank NOA radios – some are also solar and have USB charging ports and built-in flashlights.  A few cranks and you have weather and emergency broadcasts.  This is another one of those “hard to disguise” items, but try to tie it into a car survival kit below, or the solar powered lamp camping kit above.
  • Blankets and throws can make great gifts as well.  Make it a basket by including microwave popcorn, a cool bowl, and a post-apocalyptic movie DVD (Twelve Monkeys or 28 Days Later) and call it a movie night package! 
  • Flashlights – look for the zoom style that can light a room.  The newer LED flashlights are incredibly bright.  Include extra batteries to round out the gift!
  • Jar meals (add boiling water only) – here is a link to homemade instant oatmeal to get you started.  Use your imagination and your dehydrated berries and get creative.
  • Tools – Tools are the perfect gift for the neighbor or relative who seems to see your garage as the local Rent-it-all.  That spade, ladder, or drill that is constantly being borrowed can be given a rest.  Shop the sales at the big box hardware stores and get them their own.  Not only is this practical, but it might give someone a hint!
  • French Press or Campfire coffee maker and a bag or two of gourmet coffee beans or grounds.  Your friends will think you’re simply feeding their caffeine habit when you have just set them up to have coffee when the power goes out.  A gas grill and a campfire coffee maker will make their morning after a storm that takes down the local power lines.
  • Cast iron pans/Dutch Ovens – these kitchen workhorses last a lifetime and can be handed down through generations.  I have my grandmother’s cast iron and my kids will most likely fight over it.  Perhaps I should break it up in the will?  At first glance, this seems to be just a kitchen pan, but it can be used in a fireplace, on a wood stove, a gas grill, or a fire pit with no harm.  No one wants to spoil their expensive Martha Stewart pans in a fire pit!

Again, shop yard sales, flea markets and antique stores to find vintage ones.  Don’t worry if it’s not pristine, they are easily brought back to life with not much work.  This article explores several restoration options.

  • Foraging/edible books – it will be hard to disguise this as anything other than prepper literature, but perhaps you tell them it makes a great coffee table book because of the beautiful pictures?  You could also tuck an edible book into a garden basket (next).
  • Gardening supplies can be given year round.  Tools, gloves, seeds, and more can be tucked into a cute planter or gardening bucket.  Think outside the proverbial box and set up your gift in a beautiful hanging basket.  Include some additional thoughtful prepper items such as bug spray and a hat.
  • First Aid/CPR/Stop the Bleed/Life Guard course – Giving a gift certificate to an American Red Cross course can mean a potential summer job as a lifeguard or babysitter for a teen and a lifesaving skill for just about anyone else.  Explore your options for potentially free programs as well.  They are often provided at low or no-cost through local churches or school groups.  Consider gifting a CPR/First Aid course to a group of friends and family.  You can host it at a local church or community center and meet for a lunch afterwards.
  • Plants – think herbs, seasonal vegetables, and aloe.  Why send cut flower arrangements that die within a week when you can send a wonderful rosemary bush, ginger, or basil plant?  Include a recipe calling for the fresh herb you’re gifting along with some additional ingredients.  Think rosemary chicken or an herb bread mix to include with the plant.  Write or type the recipe up on a beautiful card and attach with a bow to the planter.
  • Luminade floating solar rechargeable lanterns – These are great to have in a vehicle, camping, or just having around in the event of a power outage.  They are a quick recharge and provide a substantial amount of light.  An added bonus is that they are submersible.  You can find them here: LuminAid 
  • Winter car survival kit – here in the northeast, a blanket is essential for the car during winter months.  You can simply gift a car blanket in its own case, or create a trunk survival box.  Include windshield fluid, energy bars, bottled water, jumper cables, flashlight with spare batteries, duct tape, a collapsible shovel, fire extinguisher, extra jacket or windbreaker, and gloves and a hat.  Keep it compact enough so that they aren’t tempted to move it out of the vehicle and then neglect to put it back in.  Pick up a small to medium size tool box and fill it up.  I can personally speak to how important this box can be in the winter when stuck on a highway waiting for the tow trucks to clear an accident.  I’d also add a compressed or partial roll of toilet paper for potential hours-long stranded situations where nature will definitely call during your layover.  For those in southern states, alter the box for warmer weather.
  • Battery Buddy – I have an old version of this and it is fabulous.  Not only do they safely and conveniently store your batteries, they often come with battery testers so you can check remaining battery life.  No more “is this a fresh battery” guessing game or rummaging through drawers to find the right battery.  Plus, having a box with specific size slots for batteries will often compel people to fill it up (our goal)!  I know every time I glance at mine I add AAA or C batteries to the list, depending on the vacancies.  Ontell has a really nifty one out that’s under $20.  Add a rechargeable battery station and some rechargeable batteries to get them started as well.
  • Magazine subscription – Two that come quickly to mind are Mother Earth News and Backwoods Home.  Both are paper magazines that are reference materials as well as entertaining.  The options are many, and it’s a gift that has staying power on the end table.  It’s also an opportunity for prepping conversations later in the year with a “hey, did you read that article in Backwoods this month about composting/chickens/making jerky?”

Adding a little preparation into everyone’s life isn’t as difficult as it seems.  Prepping is simply have the extras at our fingertips that smooth the inevitable bumps in the road.  If we can slyly sneak in a little prep to our friends and family, so much the better.  Being prepared should be shared.

Author: This is a guest post by Kate Paparazzo.

While you are on this topic, you might want to read this article – Community Preparedness: Six Considerations When Bringing Your Neighbors Along in Preparedness.

Prepper Friendly Gifts

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Frugal Food, Soup and Eating Well

Food is so important to our well-being. As our world gets crazier it can effect many things, including the food we can afford to buy. One way that families can eat more frugally is to eat soups. A warm pot of soup, a little bread can go a long way to warm the body and soul. In fact, with the right soups, you might find yourself eating well. In hard times, good frugal food is important. And having some easy recipes in your back pocket makes it even better.

I try not to eat out for lunch. Not only does it put a dent in the pocket book, most of the times you are looking for something fast, which usually means unhealthy. Most of the time I take my lunch to work. I try to vary it up, but most of the time it is some sort of salad or a sandwich.

In an effort to get away from a sandwich and chips, I wanted something different, easy, but tasty. I started craving soups. Not girly soups (insert some pumpkin cream something or other soup here), but hearty soups.

Soups, Recipes, Oh My

The internet has tons of frugal an inexpensive recipes waiting to be found. This is true for soup recipes too.

I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this specific site, The Modern Proper, but I found a few soup recipes that looked hearty and easy to make. I bookmarked the site and picked the first of three soups I wanted to try. I put together my list and made a soup every Saturday for three weeks in a row. I took a bowl of soup every day for lunch and never got tired of eating the same soup Monday-Friday. I was the only one eating the soup, but my family all tried them and liked them.

One word before I share the soups I made. These soups are quick and easy to make. Although all have vegetables, some of the ingredients and flavors come from a can. These ingredients can all be made from scratch, which would save you more money. But I was looking for easy soups as well as frugal food that would save me money from eating out every day for lunch.

Green Chicken Enchilada Soup

The first soup I tried was the Green Chicken Enchilada Soup. I made this soup exactly from the recipe except for the beans. Instead of Great Northern White Beans, I used Pinto Beans. I’m used to Pinto Beans and felt it would go better with the Enchilada taste.

I will also say here that enchilada sauce is not all made the same. We use the Hatch brand. It is a little bit more expensive than say Old El Paso. But it is thicker and spicier, the way I like it.

One thing that I will change when I make this the next time, is leaving out the Zucchini. For some reason, I just didn’t like it in the soup.

enchilada soup
enchilada soup - Frugal Food

You can get the recipe for this soup here – Green Chicken Enchilada Soup.

Green Chicken Chili Soup

The second soup I tried was the Green Chicken Chili Soup. You can see the trend here… Part of being frugal was that I cooked a big package of chicken the week before and froze it to use in this recipe. I also saved the chicken broth, which was so much more flavorful than trying to use something out of a can.

Again, I pretty much stayed true to the recipe except for the beans. This recipe called for white beans. I traded that out for pinto again. The recipe called for salsa verde. I purchased an expensive jar at the store. And like I mentioned above with the enchilada sauce, each brand and type of salsa verde will give the soup a different taste. But, of course, if you have a garden, you can easily source all of the ingredients for salsa verde from your own backyard.

salsa verde soup

salsa verde soup - frugal food

I didn’t always snap a pic of the soup complete with all the fixings. Above, you can see cilantro, avocado, cheese and crunched up chips. If you want to see this recipe click here –> Green Chicken Chili Soup.

Taco Soup

The last soup I tried was the Taco Soup. I started to get a little braver and stray away from the recipe just a little bit here. I followed the recipe, but instead of frozen corn, I used corn in a can. I also through in a 14.5oz can of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and more taco seasoning than the recipe called for. And like the other soups, I switched out the black beans for pinto beans.

I didn’t add any fixings to this one when I ate it. It was hearty enough to eat just like it was. I also didn’t get any other pics other than the one when I was stirring the pot. To get this recipe, click here –> Taco Soup.

taco soup - frugal food

Eating Well When Things Go Boom

I liked all three of these and I would recommend them all. I would also recommend to make them your own and change up the ingredients if you don’t like something or don’t have something readily on hand.

Soups are so versatile that you can do so much with them. I also like that you can make a whole meal with just one pot. That is something to think about if you are having to conserve fuel or want to minimize clean-up in an emergency situation.

If you are looking for more recipes, check out The Bug-In Recipe Cookbook, a FREE, crowd-sourced book of recipes from others in the Preparedness Community.

If you have a favorite soup recipe, share it with me in the comments. I’m just not into Pumpkin Spice Cream Something Something…if you know what I mean.

Peace,
Todd

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Personal Chaos

With all the craziness in the world, dealing with personal chaos can be overwhelming. We are all facing this world-wide. But so did people in the Bible. How did one of the major players in the Bible deal with his personal chaos?

Small Group Questions

  1. If you could have been right next to Eve when she was being tempted by the snake, what would you have said?
  2. Why do you think God waited so long to confront David about his sin with Bathsheba?
  3. David must have felt guilty and responsible every time something negative happened with one of his kids. How do you think he dealt with it?
  4. What are signs in your life, that you can identify, when you feel your life is in chaos?
  5. What advice would you give to someone who was experiencing personal chaos?

Check out other free small group Bible studies here on Prepared Christians.

Peace,
Todd

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Sinus Pressure Relief Tips and Tricks

Have you ever wanted to rip out your sinuses? If not, you don’t live in a place where allergies are common place and well, good for you! I know, I’m being a little sarcastic here, but not really. If I could move somewhere where I never ever felt sinus pressure again, I might just do it! Sinus pressure sucks, but keep reading and watching, there might be some sinus pressure relief help in this article.

Living in Houston, Texas, I’ve learned to live with sinus pressure. I believe I experience more than my fair share, but no one wants to hear about a crying whining Todd. But really, there are time that I’m so stuffed up that it’s hard to breath. Sometimes I feel that my episodes on the podcast are nothing more than some heavy breathing stocker like sound.

Allergy Relief

I try not to take medicine. But sometimes, you just have to. Before I do that, I try some other things.

One thing that I try is essential oils. I use the allergy blend, LLP from Spark Naturals. I normally diffuse it in my office, but when I need some quick relief, I put it next to my nostrils and on the back of my neck. You’ll want to be careful not to get it too close to your eyes. It will burn a little, but that will quickly go away.

Here’s a funny story behind using LLP. My wife has a bottle in her purse and uses it all the time. One day, a co-worker was really suffering from allergies and my wife offered LLP. Get this picture, my wife and the co-worker in the middle of the office and my wife putting LLP on this woman. Her boss walked in and quickly walked out. The boss knows my wife is a Christian and a pastor’s wife and that we believe in the power of prayer. But my wife had to go and let her boss know that she wasn’t “laying hands” on her co-worker, but instead applying an allergy relief essential oil. When word got out, she had a line of women coming to her office to get “blessed.” You can get LLP on Amazon.

Another thing I use, is over-the-counter meds. My go-to is Advil Respiratory Allergy and Congestion Pain Relief. Now I know some people won’t want to use this, but it works! I like the little packets and Amazon doesn’t seem to care how many I purchase. You probably won’t find any on Amazon because I have stocked up for the Apocalypse, but you might get lucky. If you do, get some now before the stocks dry up.

A Non-Medicine Attempt for Sinus Pressure Relief

But, with all of that said, the other day I stumbled upon a video by Dr. Mandell about two quick moves that can help relieve sinus pressure. I watched it because a chiropractor that we used to go to did a move on my wife, that we were never able to replicate at home, that my wife swears helped drain her sinuses. So, I figured I would give it a try.

Well, well, well, it worked. I felt the nastiness draining down my throat after doing this. It might not always help those severe episodes, but it is another trick that I can add to my arsenal of dealing with sinus pressure down here in the South.

If you read the comments, some people said it didn’t work on them. I would keep trying various positions on your cheek until you get it right. It works!

Check out the video below. And let me know if you have any other tricks that can help with sinus pressure in the comments.

Peace,
Todd

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Why Is God So Mean – Bible Study

I really hoped to post the Bible studies on a regular basis. To be effective as a resource to others, I know they need to be consistent. After this one, I plan on posting them every Wednesday. Here is this week’s Bible Study.

Questions

  1. Have you ever thought that God should do things a little differently than He does? What was it?
  2. Read Matthew 13:13-15 – Can you see why people might think God is mean?
  3. What would you say to someone who says God is mean?
  4. In 2 Chronicles 19:1-4, Jehu the Prophet confronts Jehoshaphat. How can this portion of Scripture be used to help someone understand God’s desire for us?
  5. What advice would you give to someone who said they just don’t feel close to God?

Video

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