Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Making of an American

I have been pondering what it means to be American.  From the time I could think in a cognitive fashion, I have been proud to be an American.  I knew in the core of my being that I lived in the greatest country on earth.  My countrymen where honorable and true and our leaders were fearless and just.  Americans were the "knights in shining armor" of two world wars and they conducted themselves in a manner befitting our princely nation.  My heart swelled with pride and thanksgiving knowing I was a child of the great United States.

What is it that I loved about my native country?  I loved that our citizens were fiercely independent.  I loved that we were willing to sacrifice personal comfort in order to do the right thing.  I loved that we were a country of principle and character.  I loved that we could make do with anything and thrive in any circumstance.  I loved that we would rather go without than burden someone else with our problems.  I loved the fact that we made a stand for right and hated wrong.  I loved the fact that we cared about our fellow man more than we cared about ourselves.  I loved the fact that we were more concerned with disciplining ourselves than policing everyone else.  I loved the fact that we rewarded achievement and punished evil.  I loved the fact that we were willing to work hard for what we wanted.  I loved the fact that we had the strength of character to succeed when the odds were against us.  I loved being an American.

I am still proud to be an American.  I still see the best in us.  But I see the worst too.  I see people who would rather take than give.  I see leaders who would rather be served than to serve.  I see good being called evil and evil being called good.  I see a people who have lost their dignity, willing to accept handouts rather than resolutely making their own way.  Americans are being replaced.  We are being replaced by impostors - haters of the American way.

It's not too late.  We can reclaim our heritage - our country.  It starts with you.  It starts with me.  It starts by throwing off the shackles of an over-reaching government.  Get off welfare, get off WIC - be too proud to accept the state's handouts and be bound by their chains.  Do the hard things.  Be willing to suffer, work hard and make your own way.  Don't blame the economy, the government or your parents.  Find that inner strength and rebuilt your nation.  Embrace good and shun evil.  Stand up for what you believe in, no matter what the cost.

It starts with you.  It starts with me.   We are the making of an American.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Wolf is at the Door

Remember the tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf?  You know the one.  Little boy, seeking attention, cries "Wolf, Wolf" while playing in a secluded field.  Terrified, the villagers run to his rescue, only to find the little boy completely unharmed with nary a wolf in sight.  Again and again, hearkening the little boy's cries, the townsfolk arm themselves with pitchforks, bows and knives and rush to defend one of their own against the devil beast. And, time after time, the little boy sheepishly admits that perhaps he hadn't seen a wolf after all.  Finally, one fated afternoon, the little boy lifts his gaze, and cringed in horror at the penetrating yellow eyes of his greatest adversary - the Wolf.  With terror unmatched in his young life, the little boys cries "Wolf, Wolf" at the top of his lungs, only to be met with the indifferent silence of an apathetic village.  Hearing the little boy cry "wolf" innumerable times when no actual danger was present had hardened the hearts of the townsfolk.  This time, they ignored the frantic cries and went on with the tasks at hand.  The mother rocked her child, the grocer sold his goods and the smith worked his iron.  The people went on with their lives as the boy lay dying in a pool of his own blood.

When the little boy failed to come home for dinner, the villagers scoffed at his weeping mother, not moved by her pleas for help.  As they settled themselves into warm, inviting beds, they slept the sleep of the righteous.  And then - they heard scratching.  Peering into the darkness, they searched for the cause.  Seeing nothing, they turned, thinking once again of sweet slumber.  With their defenses down, he pounced.  The wolf with the yellow eyes was at their door - and yet they slumbered.

I made the mistake of reading the news.  Headlines herald the end.  "Congressional Budget Office Warns of Economic Cliff".  "New Black Panthers Call to Create "Red Sea" of Bloodshed"".  "Total Emergency" in Spain.  But, as usual, life goes on with nary a glitch.  Sure, gas prices are awful and I'll have to hold my nose when I vote this year, but the realities of my day to day life remain untouched.

Now is the time when many become complacent.  They grow tired of hearing the "boy" cry "wolf".  They've armed themselves against the beast only to be betrayed by the town crier.  They're done.  The wolf is a myth - a figment of an overactive imagination.  They are going to live for the now - for the moment.  To heck with the wolf.  Life is waiting.

But, the wolf is at the door.  After months and years of prepping and planning, it is easy to become disillusioned.  "If it hasn't happened yet, it never will".  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The wolf has been prowling, seeking who he can devour, and he will, when we are at our weakest.  Therefore, I encourage you to keep the faith.  Run the race.  Don't lose heart.  You are our last, best hope.

The wolf is at the door.  How will you answer?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Prepared Family Products Presents the Emergency Birth Kit

Recently, while we were taking inventory of our preparedness supplies, we noticed a gaping hole.  Although we are well stocked with emergency medical necessities, we had none that were specifically geared toward pregnancy, labor, delivery and immediate post-partum.  Realizing that this oversight could mean the difference between life and death, Maid Elizabeth took action.

Drawing on her experience as a midwife, not only stateside but also as an out-of-country missionary midwife, Maid Elizabeth began gathering supplies that she considered essential.  Although basic, her kit is filled with the necessities required to help non-medical personnel deliver a baby safely in a home environment.  This kit was designed to provide the education and tools for a lay person to successfully deliver a baby in a grid-down, TEOTWAWKI situation.

The Emergency Birth Kit is combat packed (once opened, the items you need first will be on the top and will progress in descending order to the bottom of the bucket) and filled to the brim.  An excellent emergency childbirth book is at the top of the bucket, enabling expectant parents to prepare for impending birth, as well as a number of brochures explaining uses for specific items.  A list of items is attached to the back of the bucket, along with the quantity of each item.  An index is also packed in the bucket explaining the intended use for each item enclosed.

Having had most of my children at home, I can attest to the fact that this birth kit is extraordinarily comprehensive.  The fact that it is packed in a labeled 5 gallon bucket makes it perfectly complimentary to most every preppers food and equipment stores.

The reality is that in a worst-case scenario situation unexpected births will happen. Having a birth kit at the ready will bring a modicum of calm to an already stressful situation.  As preppers we try to have all the bases covered.  The Emergency Birth Kit is a necessary component of every survivalists plan of action.

If you are interested in purchasing an Emergency Birth Kit, just click the Birth Kit button on the right-hand side of the blog or go to

Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Life in Pictures

These are snapshots of our life - days full, bringing joy and contentment and LOTS of good food!  Enjoy your visit.

Blackberry Crumble
Individual Blackberry Crumbles (can be made with any in season fruit or fruit from your freezer or canning jars) is a perfectly simple ending to a summer meal.  I make the crumble ahead and keep it in the refrigerator, waiting to adorn fruit at a moments notice.  The crumbles take about 20 minutes to cook, making them perfect to pop in the oven when dinner comes out so they are ready to eat when the meal is finished.  I love blackberry and raspberry crumble best, although apple and pear make a fabulous fall treat.  The crumble topping is infinitely flexible, adding or subtracting ingredients depending on what is in your pantry.

1 C cold butter
2 C flour
2/3 C sugar
2/3 C ground almonds (I used pecans)
pinch of salt

Combing flour, sugar, ground almonds and pinch of salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter.  Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cutting in the butter
Adding a little sugar and cinnamon to the berries
Berry mixture in ramekin pots
Going into the oven (350° for 15-20 minutes)
Ready for a summer picnic
Perfect topped with whipped cream

Bacon and Cheese Frittata
When I was a girl, my dad made the most wonderful omelets in the world.  They were light and fluffy, packed with all kinds of good things.  When I grew up and went out in the world, I ordered an omelet in a restaurant, and much to my great surprise and consternation, they brought a flat, folded thing that bared no resemblance to the omelets of my youth.  Years later, I came to find that the omelets my father had made were in fact not omelets, but frittatas.  With our overabundance of eggs, frittatas are on our regular menu.  Leftover bacon, sausage and ham are regular features, as are onions, green pepper and cheese.  Whatever we happen to have in the fridge ends up in the skillet.  I love making these on the wood cookstove best, but they work well in a regular oven as well.

Eggs (I used 14 for a 10" skillet)
Cooked meat (bacon, ham, sausage etc)
Veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms etc)
Cheese (whatever suits your fancy - cheddar, swiss, pepper jack etc)

Melt a tablespoon (or so) of butter in a cast iron skillet.

Mix eggs with a bit of milk.  Beat well.  Add meat, vegetables and cheese.  Stir well.  Pour into heated skillet.  Cook (without stirring) over medium low heat until the eggs begin to set around the edges of the skillet.  Put skillet into at medium oven (350°) and cook until eggs are set (eggs don't jiggle when you shake the skillet).  The frittata will be huge and puffy but will deflate as it cools.  Slice and serve with toast and potatoes.

Beaten eggs with bacon pieces
Adding chives and cheese
Pouring the mixture into the skillet
Transferred into the oven
Breakfast is served!

Carmel Corn
Years ago, I went to a tupperware party at a friends house.  Now, truth be told, I am not a tupperware kind of girl, so I didn't come home with any new plastic gadgets, however, I did come home with a killer recipe.  Our hostess made carmel corn - in a MICROWAVE! no less, and it was awesome.  I wrangled the recipe from her and have been spoiling my family with it ever since.  It always turns out perfectly, takes very few ingredients and is lightening fast, and really, is better than any recipe we have tried.  It is cheating, I suppose, using the microwave, but it sure is convenient, especially if you are feeding hoards of locusts (our pet name for children when we have large gatherings).  Try it - you won't be disappointed!

Carmel Corn
1 C popcorn (popped)
1 C brown sugar
1 cube butter
1/4 C corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 paper grocery store bag

Pop popcorn and pour into a paper grocery bag.  In a large, microwave safe bowl, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.  Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to mixture and stir.  This will significantly change the consistency of the carmel.  Pour carmel mixture over the popcorn in the paper bag.  Stir through the popcorn.  Fold the bag and put in the microwave for 1 minute.  Mix popcorn again and put in the microwave for 1 more minute.  Pour the popcorn in a serving bowl.  Allow the carmel corn so sit for about 1/2 an hour to harden.  Break into chunks and enjoy.

The brown sugar, butter and corn syrup
Stir half-way through the cooking time
Ready to add the baking soda
After the baking soda was added
Carmel on top of the popcorn (in the paper bag)
Stirring carmel into the popcorn
Folding the paper bag to go into the microwave
Mixing at 1 minute (push around from the outside of the bag)
Ready to serve
Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

The Real Cost of Freedom

This is an article I wrote last year for the 4th of July but somehow I thought it was an appropriate tribute for Memorial Day.  Treasure your freedom - it has been bought and paid for with the blood of One and the blood of many.

Freedom comes with the highest price

Our freedom, so coveted by true patriots, comes at a price far greater than most of us realize.  When we think of freedom, most often we think of the noble men who fought and died to free us from the tyranny of King George, or of the brave souls who risked life and limb to liberate the world twice, in one century, from evil men who fancied themselves demigods.  But, how often do we consider the true author of freedom?

When God breathed the first breath into mankind, he could have chosen to enslave the human race.  Being the author of our lives, He could have given us no choice in who we worshipped, who we served or what we thought.  He could have created a worshipping throng to proclaim His goodness all their days.  Instead, He created a free people.  He breathed the breath of life into a people that could choose to love Him - or not.  He gave us freedom, from our first breath to our last.  God himself is the author of liberty.  And our liberty was purchased at a great price.  Blood.

When God chose to give his children freedom, He knew we would not choose Him.  He knew that we would be tempted by the world.  He knew we would choose to gratify ourselves, serve ourselves and love ourselves.  He gave us our freedom anyway.  And then, he made a way for us to belong to Him in spite of our rebellion - blood.  The blood of his son to be precise.

And, so it is.  Freedom has always been won with blood.  Never, has a single man been freed by the swipe of a pen or the clasp of a hand.  Freedom has always been fought for, bled for and died for.  From the beginning of time, our freedom has been purchased with blood - the highest of prices.

As we celebrate our nation's birthday, I urge you all to recognize the true cost of freedom. My freedom and yours has been bought and paid for with the blood of many.  Our freedom can't be won with words or platitudes, but only by the blood of great men who truly understand the price of freedom.

I am no slave.  I never will be.  I am a free man (woman), not because some government granted my freedom, but because God himself made me free.  My freedom has been bought. And so, my fellow Americans, has yours.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Equipment Review - Surefire Helmet Light

This equipment review promises to provide more information than any other helmet light review on the web.  Really.  When reviewing flashlights, most product testers don't bother to deal with the basics, such as proper flashlight cleaning.  Even if they touch on the subject, they say something ignorant like "wipe with a soft, clean rag".  The Paratus Familia product test team went one step further.  We put the flashlight through its paces and tossed it in the washing machine - with a load of laundry.

Knowing that people would be using their Surefire Helmet light in all types of inclement weather, we allowed the flashlight to remain submerged in the washing machine all the way through the 45 minute heavy duty cycle.  When the spin cycle was completed we retrieved the light, dried it off with a bath towel and flipped the switch.  Eureka!  The light worked.  We were truly impressed!

O.K., so we didn't really mean to toss the flashlight in the washing machine - but sometimes these things just happen.  We truly were impressed that, being submerged for the better part of an hour, the light worked flawlessly.  That makes the Surefire a light worth owning!

The Surefire Helmet Light is just what it's name suggests.  It comes with a bracket that easily attaches to either a PASGT Helmet or a MICH Helmet.  It has 3 regular LED's and 2 blue LED's (specifically for use with Night Vision - the blue light won't disrupt your optically assisted night vision) and also has an infrared pulsing function that can only be seen when using night vision (which helps eliminate "friendly fire").  The Surefire helmet light uses one CR123 battery and has a long run time.

Light attached to the helmet
Light bracket
The light
The switches and battery compartment
Three white LED's
Blue LED's
Once the bracket has been attached to your helmet, the light is easily removed for use independent of the helmet.  Master Hand Grenade regularly grabs his light, stuffs it in his pocket and heads out to start the generator in the dark.  However, when it is attached to the helmet, it provides great hands-free illumination.

Surefire helmet lights are rather expensive.  If you are looking for an inexpensive, every day light, this Surefire is not for you.  If, however, you are looking for a light to use when you are in full tactical gear, the Surefire helmet light just may be your answer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

LRRP Bars (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol)

Over the course of the past couple of months, our family has taken our preparedness efforts on the trail.  We have been hiking with loaded packs to determine what works and what doesn't.  We have learned what gear we like, what attachments are an asset and what items are essential to our kit.  It has been nothing short of a learning experience.

One thing we have found is that we need energy on the trail (especially the children), and, not wanting to spend the money on high priced energy bars, I decided to make my own.  We have affectionately named our bars LRRP (pronounced "lurp") Bars, short for Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Bars, because they are packed with nuts, fruits, complex sugars and carbohydrates making them perfect for nutrition on the go.  They are made from items most often found in a typical pantry and every ingredient is easily stored.  This recipe can be changed according to individual likes and dislikes and requires very little time to make.  I will give the original recipe along with the substitutions I made.


1 C rolled oats (I use thick oats - I also love to toast the oats before using - 10-15 minutes at 350° until slightly browned)
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C wheat and barely nugget cereal (GrapeNuts) (I left this out)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 beaten egg
1/4 C applesauce
1/4 C honey
3 T brown sugar
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 C unsalted sunflower seeds (I used salted)
1/4 C chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
1 (7 ounce) bag chopped, dried mixed fruit (I used Craisins but would love raisins, dates, dehydrated apples, raspberries, etc.)
I added 1 C chocolate chips (although it is not in the recipe)

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.  Line a 9" square baking pan with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with cooking spray.  (I doubled the recipe and used a 15" x 10.5" pan).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, cereal and cinnamon.  Add the egg, applesauce, honey, brown sugar and oil.  Mix well.  Stir in the sunflower seeds, walnuts and dried fruit.  Spread mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 30 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned around the edges.  Let cool.  Use the foil to lift from the pan.  Cut into bars or squares and store in the refrigerator (or bake slightly longer, until the bars are a little dryer, and store at room temperature).
*Substitutions I would use:  I think adding Whey protein or powdered milk would be great for upping the protein.  I would use 10 grain cereal instead of the GrapeNuts.  I think I could come up with all kinds of fun things to add!

Thick Oats
With Whole Wheat flour
Adding the applesauce and eggs
And the honey (somewhat crystallized, but raw)
Pecans, Sunflower Seeds, Craisins
Mixing it all together
Lining the pan with tin foil and oiling it
Spread in the pan
Baked, out of the pan and ready to cut
Yum!  Soft and Chewy
These are power-packed and full of goodness!   Children and adults alike think they're a keeper.  These will make your next Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol a little easier to take!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Church on the Mountain Top

Maid Elizabeth and I have been hiking 3 miles every day with Sir Knight joining us on the weekends.  The younger children have been begging to join us, so this morning we decided to pack up the whole family, hit the trail and have church at the top of the mountain.

Sir Knight slung on his Blackhawk 3 day pack, I, my Blackhawk Hydrastorm and Miss Serenity and Princess Dragon Snack carried their small Condor packs.  Two of us had CamelBak's and the rest carried water bottles.  We loaded up and headed down the road (about 5 minutes) to a nearby park and set off for higher ground.

Princess Dragon Snack led the way, with Master Calvin close on her heels.  We thought the younger children would get tired quickly and anticipated carrying them, but both of them did remarkably well.  Dragon Snack led the whole way (and often had to wait up for the rest of us) and Master Calvin did all of the difficult hiking on his own two legs, only when we were almost done and going down hill did he poop out and accept a ride on Master Hand Grenade's shoulders.

Chainsaw art - someone put this smiley face on the end of the log
Takin' a breather
A coyote skull?
Single file
It was quite a hike heading up the trail (almost 2 miles of steep incline) but the views when we reached the top made every step worth taking.  It was incredible!

Looking over the cliffs to the lake far below, Sir Knight led our family in corporate worship.  What an incredible thing, in the midst of God's beautiful creation, to sing His praises accompanied by creatures He created.

Normally, Maid Elizabeth and I go traipsing out of the house with little more than our hiking clothes and pedometer, but today was a different story.  Sir Knight encouraged us to take our First Line Gear (thanks Joe Nobody!) and get used to wearing it.  Wow!  What a difference 20 pounds can make when you are hiking up the side of a mountain!  I thought it was going to kill me!  (Not really, but I had to stop with irritating frequency).  I did find out that my pack was incredibly comfortable.  It wasn't off-balanced and didn't rub and I loved having my Camelbak at my left shoulder whenever I needed a drink.  It did, however, make me realize that I had better get used to carrying my pack if I intend to be able to get out of dodge with my pack on my back.

Master Calvin bummin' a ride
Helping little brother across a dead-fall
There he goes!
Princess Dragon Snack
Miss Serenity running across
We had a great day.  We plan to ramp up our adventures and head out any chance we get. Next time, we will take homemade power bars (the kids got hungry about the time we hit the peak of the mountain) and make sure everyone is carrying their pack and Camelbak.

Not only did we have a wonderful time as a family, we got to take church to the mountain top.