Thursday, December 29, 2016

72 Hour Kit: Shelter, Warmth & Clothing

This is part of a multi-part series on 72-hour kits.  See the other parts by clicking on the links to the right.  


I actually figure that the most likely scenario where we would use our 72-hour kit is one where we end up in an established shelter of some sort, a school or church or the like.  So, I'll be honest, I've kind of skimped when it comes to shelter.  I've included a rope and duct tape and figured we could use the garbage sacks and foil blankets we have to put together a sad covering if we really needed to.

However, as I work on rebuilding our kits, I might give in and purchase some simple, lightweight shelters like the triangle tube tent below.  It only weighs a few ounces, folds up to the size of a smart phone, and holds two adults.  It's open on both ends, so you'd have to use some duct tape to close one end and use plants or debris in front of the other.  You don't want it entirely closed because you still want to release carbon dioxide.  There are no stakes to hold it down, but four rocks on the inside corners will do that duty.  It's made out of mylar (that shiny thin metal stuff) so should reflect back body heat and keep rain and snow off.

        SHELTER            -- foil BLANKET fleece --


I currently have those thin mylar blankets.  The link I've posted above is for ten.  But, they are less than 80 cents each!  You can have extra for shelter, split the order with someone else, or give some away at that price.  Mylar blankets are super for space and weight savings, but they just lack something as far as psychological warmth goes. So, I am thinking that if room in our new packs allows, I will probably add a small, lightweight fleece blanket to most of the packs.  This will be in addition to, not as a replacement for the mylar blankets.  The mylar blankets have a  ton of other potential uses.  They can be used to collect rain or dew, keep the rain off, as a shelter, or to reflect the sun for starters.  Anyway, I'll probably look for fleece blankets at thrift stores like Goodwill, Value Village and D.I. but, I've included a link to one just in case.

In addition to blankets, we have the Sterno cans we have for heating our food.  However, open flame has it's own concerns of fire and asphyxiation, if being used in a closed space.  Plus, we don't want to use up our food heat before we've used up our food.  So, that's a limited heat source.

Finally, we have a supply of chemical hot packs like the ones below.  These are super duper easy to use and won't start a fire.  You do have to be careful using them with small children, the elderly or anyone else who may not be able to sense if they get too hot.  Just make sure there is a good barrier between them and the hot pack.  I have plain hand ones which are a plain rectangle shape.  You can put these in your shoes, but they do make a shoe one as well. I've never tried it, however.

   WARMER               PONCHO               TAPE


Clothing: the bane of any mother's existence.  We are constantly picking it up, washing it, putting it away, and buying new clothes for ever growing kids.  Even in a disaster, we've got to think about clothing.  It's one of the few areas that I can't get around having to check and rotate the clothes because my kids just keep growing.  The packs that the rats got into had diapers in them, but my youngest is six an has been potty trained for several years!  Obviously, I've fallen behind.

To start with, I've put in disposable rain ponchos.  I live in the Pacific Northwest.  It rains here, a lot.  On a day to day basis, it's not that big of a deal and people don't even use umbrellas.  But, it's not fun to be wet and not be able to dry out.  The ponchos are very thin.  When I say they are disposable, I mean disposable.  Treat them gently.  They'll be too big for most children.  Use your duct tape to size them as needed. The link above is for four ponchos. If you watch, you can probably find these cheaper.  I just saw them at Winco for less than a dollar each.

Next I'm going to add a warm hat for each family member.  I prefer fleece because fleece cuts wind and repels water better.  If you don't have any extra hats, check your local dollar store.  You can probably save more there than even at thrift stores.  There are links to a couple of good deals below if you don't want to shop around.

Then I'm adding two pair of socks per person.  Now, here comes my evil secret.  You know that pile of mismatched socks we all have?  Mine is HUGE.  I'm going to find socks that are alike in shape and use those.  I don't really care if they match otherwise, as long as they are warm.  If you don't want to go this route, there's a link to some wool socks in all sizes below.

While cleaning out the kids clothes, pull out something ratty but still durable and warm and stick that in their pack for clothing.  One change per person.  Include some sort of jacket, coat, or sweater.  This should be rotated every six months or so depending on how fast your child is growing.  We all know babies grow super fast and teen boys sprout like weeds.

Finally, sturdy shoes and work boots should be included for each family member.  To be honest, my budget doesn't really allow this.  So, I rely on the last pair of shoes they've trashed but still fits and isn't being worn.  It's better than nothing.

I'm packing all clothing in ziplock or seal-a-meal bags so that they stay dry.

disclaimer:  I do get a small commission if you purchase through the links above.  But, mostly, they are there to illustrate what I'm talking about and for reference, so don't feel obligated in any way.  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

72 Hour Kit: Food and Water

This is part of a multi-part series on 72-hour kits.  See the other parts by clicking on the links to the right.

The rats which have been causing problems got into our 72-hour kits.  Grrr.  They pretty much destroyed them, so we are starting over in many ways.  Here's what we have or are working on getting.


One gallon of water per person per day minimum is recommended.  But water is heavy to carry and we live in an area with an abundance of available water, so my focus is on cleaning the available water, not storing water for my 72 hour kit.  I'm getting:

Polar pure:  We can use this to purify the larger amounts of water we will need to prepare our dehydrated food.  It kills all living organisms, treats up to 2000 qts of water from one bottle (that's super affordable compared to other options), has an indefinite shelf life (so I don't have to rotate or replace it), it's super easy to use, and is supposed to have little taste.  It doesn't filter out sediment.

All you do is fill the very small bottle with water, wait one hour, treat the water you are going to drink and wait 20 min.

Tip:  dissolve a vitamin-c tablet in the water after the 20 minutes to make the water clear again, instead of iodine colored.  It can be a magic trick for your kids.  I've linked an example of vitamin-c here for reference, but really any cheap vitamin-c tablet will do.  Any dose.

Life Straw:  These can be used for individual drinking water.  You just stick in the water and drink through the straw.  Works great for everyone who can drink through a straw.  If you have an infant or small child, you'd need to use the polar pure to clean their water.

Additional Water:  I'm including a sealed bottle of water for each person to get us started.  Plus, we are storing water in clean used soda bottles in case we shelter in our home.  It's lots easier to access that then go find water.  Don't use milk containers.  They decompose and leave you with a wet mess!


You can calculate how many calories you need per person using this handy dandy chart at WebMd.  It lists calorie needs by age starting at age two, sex, and activity level.  But, I kept it simple and went with an average of 2000 cal per person per day.  I considered several options.

MINIMALIST OPTION People have different opinions about food.  My mother says she doesn't really care if she's hungry as long as she has the nutrients she needs.  So she packs high energy, low weight, high calorie, but not very filling energy food like the S.O.S. Rations bars shown below.  Personally, I have kids and I don't want to see them crying because they are hungry.   Neither approach is wrong. Pick what works for you.  The advantage to her approach is that the bars take little space in her pack, are comparatively light weight, require no prep, no heat, and no water (but they are dry, so you probably will want water to wash them down with.)

LOW COST OPTION  You can easily put together 72 hours of food using top ramen, oatmeal packets, jars of peanut butter, and canned tuna.  This is inexpensive and a little can be purchased at each grocery trip.  Just make sure to rotate it every year (and keep it away from the rats.)  I didn't want to go this route.  It's what I've had and I'm ready for an upgrade.  I don't want to have to rotate all the time.  Plus, honestly, I don't like top ramen all that much.  Not that I wouldn't eat it in a disaster.  I've included a link for the picture, but honestly, I'd wait until it goes on sale at your local grocery store and buy there.

EASY OPTION  I also considered a pre-made kit like the 72 Hour Emergency Kit by Legacy below.  Its calorie amount is right and it has a good feedback on taste.  Plus, it includes everything you need for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  But, to feed seven of us, I'd need to purchase four kits which adds up.  This is a great route to go, but you do need to read the fine print and do a little math when decided what kit to purchase.  The kit I selected below has the right calorie count, but a lot of the kits don't.  When you calculate the calories per serving, they'll work out to 1000 or so per day.  That's not a problem as long as you are aware of it and plan your food accordingly.


CHOOSE YOUR OWN OPTION  Finally, I decided to choose our own food.  I choose number 10 cans because they have the longest shelf life (25 YEARS) and are relatively rat resistant.  Plus, when feeding seven people, it's cost effective to buy a larger size.  In addition, the cans be used to cook in, carry water, store things, etc.

But, everything I chose is available in smaller sizes as well (just click the link and select the smaller pouch.)  The shelf life isn't as long (12 years) but still lasts many years.  You can rotate it out an a camping trip.  Here's what I chose.



Frankly, I chose these flavors because they were ones my kids would eat that were on the lower end cost wise.  But, there are some others that sound delicious, too:  Chicken Teriyaki, Sweet and Sour Pork, Mexican Style Rice and Chicken.  I chose Mountain House because everything I've ever tasted by them is pretty good, they've been around forever, and have a great reputation.  I also added in one can of oatmeal from the LDS Church Cannery.  We'll eat that for breakfast.

We are putting one can in each person's bag and think it won't be too heavy since they are dehydrated foods.  If we are separated, one person will get tired of whatever she or he has, or will trade with other people, but will be nourished.  If we are together, we'll open one can at a time and all eat it.


The food can be rehydrated with cold water, but it takes longer and will taste a lot better warm.  If we are home, we have a gas stove that we can light with a match if the electricity is out.  We also have a propane BBQ.

TIP:  keep an extra propane tank in reserve. It's good for emergency storage and for when you are cooking and run low.  In addition, we have a camp stove that runs off those little propane bottles.  Finally, we could have a wood fire in our fire pit.

But, for our 72 hour kit, none of those are easily portable.  After looking at the options, I decided to go with:

     *6 Sterno cans: one in each of the oldest people's packs. These can be used and put out, then used again.
     *1 Cute little Sterno Stove:  Just the right size for a number 10 can.  If we are separated, those who don't have the stove will have to make due using rocks or found objects.
     *Some metal cups to eat out of:  We had some already, but I needed a couple more.   We can use these to heat the food, but I really plan to heat the food in the number 10 cans.  If you are getting pouches, you will probably want to get a small mess kit that includes a small pot.
     *Multi-function flatware:  These are forks/knives/spoons.  The knives aren't very sharp, but won't be used to cut anything that needs it.  I love that they are in different colors.  Each person knows which is his or hers.  I like these well enough, that I plan to order some more for camping.
     *7 P-38 Can Openers:  I already had a couple but needed a few more so that I can duct tape one to each can in case we are separated.  These are dirt cheap.
     *Matches and lighters!  Be sure to remember these!
     *Ziplock baggie to put the dry food in, so I can use the number 10 can as a pot.

 STERNO=HEAT          STOVE                   CUPS              


If you buy though clicking on any of my links, I do get a small commission at no cost to you.  I appreciate it, but that's not why the links are there. They are there to help illustrate what choices I made and help others find what they are looking for.  Pictures are just so much easier than words sometimes.  :)

Monday, December 26, 2016

What to do when Baby BITES when BREASTFEEDING?!

For some reason this question has come up a lot lately.  I thought I'd save myself some time and answer it here, so I can just post a link.  I've nursed five children, each for over two years.  So, I've been bit once or twice.  I have some experience with it.  You are not inevitably doomed to bleeding sores.

Babies don't all bite for the same reason.  Figuring out why your baby is biting can help end it.  One overarching thing to keep in mind is that it is anatomically impossible for babies to get milk and bit at the same time.  If they are nursing, they can't bite.  If they are biting, they aren't nursing.

Some babies bite at the beginning of a feed.  Often they are seeking pain relief for swollen, tender gums.  It may take some timing on your part, but try to sooth those gums before baby is very hungry and just before feeding.  Offer a teething toy, a wet frozen washcloth, or rub his gums with your finger.  Relieving the pain may help him, and you, have a better nursing experience.

Other babies will chomp and release toward the end of a feeding.  Go with what feels natural in a situation like this.  Let out a yelp!   Immediately remove her from your breast, firmly tell her, "No biting!", put her down on the floor and walk away, even if she is crying.  In generally, a Christlike mommy doesn't want her babies to cry, but in this case, loving discipline is in order.  Come back soon, soothe her and remind her, "No biting."  Babies learn quickly, that biting means no cuddles and no milk.

Some babies bite at the end of a feed and latch on like a little barracuda.  They just won't let go!  It seems wrong, but pull that babe into your breast smothering her.  Make sure to cover her nose, so that she can't breath, so that she is forced to open her mouth to breath.  Don't worry, you aren't trying to strangle her, just force her to open her jaw!  She will. Like above, immediately firmly tell her, "No Biting!", put her down on the floor and and walk away.  She'll get the message after repeatedly doing this.

There is another class of babies that seem to get bored toward the end of a feeding and bite to get a reaction from you.  For these little ones, watch closely for when they start to slow down.  Unlatch them when they are near the end of the their feed and end the feed a tad early.  This can be tricky.  You want them to get enough to eat, but not bite you.  Usually, a babe this age is older and also trying out solid foods, but getting his or her main nutrition still from mama.  But, you've been doing this for a while, and probably have a feeling for when your babe is getting full.

With any of these, consistency is the key.  It may take a week or so of repeatedly teaching your baby.  But, it is so worth it.  Nursing an older baby is so much more fun and rewarding than nursing a newborn.  Plus, it makes life a ton easier.  Looking back on it, getting through the biting part was actually easier than getting through the newborn part.  You've made it this far. You've got this Mama!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Conference Butterscotch Bubble Bread

We have a tradition of making this for LDS General Conference morning.

18 frozen dinner rolls (2 packages will make three batches)
1 (3.5 oz) package cook & serve (not instant) butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C melted butter

At 9:30 pm, on Saturday night,
Spray a 9" bundt pan with cooking spray.
Place 24 frozen dinner rolls in pan
Sprinkle with 1 3.5 oz package of cook and serve (not instant) butterscotch pudding mix
Sprinkle with 1/2 C brown sugar
Pour 1/2 C melted butter over the top
cover and let sit on counter overnight

at 8:15 am, on Sunday morning,
preheat oven to 350 degrees
bake for 25 minutes
remove from oven, invert onto dish and serve.

times are approx.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

I've never had a breakfast casserole worth repeating, until now.  They always end up soggy.  This one isn't.  Here it is....

*2 pkg frozen Potatoes O'brian:  bake at 350 for 30 min on a Pam coated baking sheet
*3 lbs bacon: cook 'till crispy

mix above with

*3 C of your favorite cheese, grated
*4 green onions, diced (next time, I'm tried diced red onions)

Pour all into a Pam coated casserole dish.
In a separate bowl, mix together:

*3 C eggs
*3 cans (36 oz total) fat free evaporated milk
*Salt & Pepper

Cover the casserole and the bowl.  Put both in the fridge until ready to cook.
Rewisk the egg mixture, then pour over the potato mix.  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour until eggs are set in the middle.

The original recipe is from .  I've adapted it.