Thursday, April 25, 2013

Manly Stuff For When The SHTF

Once again, I was thinking about the "small things" that would make life a little bit easier nicer when it hits the fan. I figure that fashion will turn towards functionality once again, but fashion has never really been about function...has it? The colors will reflect more of the seasons rather than the walkways of New York, and over-priced apparel will be a long forgotten memory. Once again, hairstyles will be practical, and beards will appear on a majority of men. ( This is where I tie into the post title )  Razors will be a luxury that most will do without, and a good pair of scissors will bring a good rate of return on your investment. With a little planning, you can save money, and have a clean shaven face, both before and after it hits the fan.

In the initial decline, I'll be sporting my newly grown gray, as a way to blend into the crowds. After the Golden Horde withers and dies, the beard can be shaved clean during the summer months. I've had a beard during the summer months, and they are too hot and itchy.

I've used a brush and mug, and it really saves quite a bit of money in the long run. The soap cakes usually lasts about a year, and at 99 cents each, they are a lot cheaper than shaving cream. Isn't this what prepping is partially about? Making things last, and saving money for the long term. One thing that I'll be researching is finding a razor that uses the actual razor blades as a long term solution.

The mugs, brushes, and soap cakes would also make excellent barter items! Currently, razors are fairly cheap, and hard to make, so it is well suited as a barter item. It also takes up little room while being a desirable personal grooming item. It could even possibly be used as a post SHTF business plan. Remember those western movies...they always had a barber shop.

I've also added a few new items to My Amazon store. A reasonably priced mug, shaving brush, and soap cake kit for $9.99. Another item that is often overlooked might be scissors for the mustache. While purchases are appreciated through My Amazon store, please look around for the best possible prices.

Anyone have a SHTF razor that they use?  Comments are always welcomed and encouraged.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

UPDATE: After a bit of research, you might find this article interesting. It is about the art of shaving.

Monday, April 22, 2013

MRE Monday - Lentils And Vegetables

Today's MRE was randomly selected from the shipping box.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 9.0 oz.
Calories: 560
Calories from fat: 140
Total Fat: 15g or 29% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 0mg or 0% DV
Sodium: 730mg or 30% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 91g or 30% DV
Dietary Fiber: 11g or 44% DV
Sugars: 10g
Protein: 14g
Vitamin A: 15% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  4% DV
Iron: 20%


A veggie MRE? Not what I really wanted to sample tonight, but to do a complete review of all the MREs available, I'd have to get to it sometime.


Row, the seven year old, had a less than enthusiastic response to the sample, "It's not horrible". He didn't bother with a second bite, so no star for this entree.

Red Ant With Pincers, the four year old, also didn't care for the MRE. He had to be verbally threatened to try a sample, well ok...he was told that he had try a small bite. He did, and proclaimed that " I don't like the flavor". We pressed him for more info about what he didn't like, and he said that it tasted like beef. He also didn't finish his small bowl either, so it didn't earn his recommendation either.

MIL, really liked the sample, and commented on the BBQy taste and that she "loved it". "The texture is great and the flavor too. The lentils aren't overwhelming, like they can be".

Sweetheart, immediately like it too. She thought very highly of it, and thought it would be a great MRE in a crisis situation. MIL chimed in that it would be great for lunch! Sweetheart said that she would definitely eat it again.

My first taste did remind me of BBQ, and further chewing narrowed it down to BBQ baked beans. I was pleasantly surprised by the blend of lentils, potatoes, and almost translucent onion slivers. I would heavily consider this as an excellent side dish for the caloric density and slight sweet BBQ flavor. The texture was spot on with the lentils and bits of potatoes.

Final Thoughts:

This MRE is a HDR, which stands for Humanitarian Daily Ration. The higher than average calories from this MRE would make it an excellent backpacking meal, or accompaniment. This MRE makes it onto our A-list for reorders because of the taste AND calories.

Stars: * * (2)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Monday ought to be an interesting day. For those that like conspiracy theories, check this out.

We shall see.

The section below was from SHTFPlan.

Initial reports after the Boston Marathon bombing were that a Saudi Arabian was in police custody and being questioned in the hospital.
Here’s what we know so far.
  • Within a few hours of identifying Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi as a possible suspect in the bombing, officials advised that the this individual was cleared of any wrong-doing.
  • The FBI and other law enforcement agencies searched Ali Alharbi’s apartment in Revere, Massachusetts. Officials indicated that no evidence was found or removed from the apartment, but eye witness reports suggest otherwise. Fox News reported live from the scene that law enforcement was seen removing several bags after searching the residence.
  • The following day, Secretary of State John Kerry had a private meeting with a Saudi foreign minister.
  • President Obama, likewise, had an unscheduled meeting with the ambassador from Saudi Arabia. The official White House position is that the discussion entailed Syria, and had nothing to do with the Boston bombing.
  • First Lady Obama, also concerned about the health of the Saudi, paid a special visit to him in the hospital.
  • Within 24 hours, it was reported that college student Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi, originally identified as the Boston Bomber, was to be deported back to his home country on “national security grounds.”
  • When questioned by reporters on Thursday, Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano said that she knew nothing about the supposed deportation and that this claim was nothing more than a “rumor.” When further pressed about the suspect’s involvement in the most significant terrorist acts on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001, a frustrated Napolitano responded, “I am not going to answer that question, it is so full of misstatements and misapprehensions, that it is just not worthy of an answer.”
According to Glenn Beck, however, the real story surrounding Saudi Arabian suspect Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi has been completely covered up by the White House and law enforcement officials at the highest levels.
By Monday night, either the Obama administration comes clean, or Glenn Beck has promised to make whatever information he has available public.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Small Things & My Thoughts on Coffee, Shelf life, and the SHTF.

The people that regularly read my blog know that I enjoy doing the grocery shopping for our home. It gives me the chance to be on the lookout for any new foods that might prove useful for backpacking, or prepping.  

A person can have the very basic food stuffs to survive a snowstorm, electrical outage, or even a long term emergency situation and be fine. I'm thinking that I'd like to have at least some small luxuries while "surviving" the situation.

I'm positive that my boys would like chocolate powder for their milk and butter [ghee] for their homemade bread in a crisis event.

Heck, sugar for some sweet tea would go a long way in brightening up a long day. It will be the small luxuries that can change an intolerable situation to a little better one. A book to read by the candlelight when the power goes out....I could give numerous examples of the "small things".


I noticed at the store that various packaging of coffee lasts longer than others. Not a big deal in itself nor groundbreaking research, but an observation none the less. I visited three stores an averaged the shelf life of various packaging techniques of coffee. I only looked at ground coffee, since grinding the beans might be an issue if there wasn't any power.

The expiration dates on coffee only represents the date in which the company will stand behind it for taste and quality. In my experience, I have had coffee that "expired" over a year ago, and it was still good.

Ground coffee

Non-vacuum packed bags about 2-8 months out

Plastic/paper containers about  8-14 months on average

Metal rounds, vacuum packed mylar brick bags about 18-26 months out. Note: A chicory blend was included that shortened the mean average. I don't know if the blend is a poor seller or if the blend doesn't store well. Either way, expect close to 2 years with non-blends.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

What "small things" do you stock to make bad situations a little better? Comments are welcomed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why She is a Sweetheart

I bought a new school bag at the thrift store, but forgot to move over my index cards with the positioning techniques that we are being tested on today. I called, she photographed, then emailed the images...

Did I mention that she's a sweetheart?


Monday, April 15, 2013

MRE Monday - Maple Flavor Pork Sausage Patty

Today's review was picked out by Red Ant With Pincers.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 2.6 oz.
Calories: 240
Calories from fat: 190
Total Fat: 21g or 329% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 50mg or 17% DV
Sodium: 520mg or 22% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 2g or 1% DV
Dietary Fiber: 0g or 0% DV
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 10g
Vitamin A: 0% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  0% DV
Iron: 4%


I was thinking that it would taste like a sausage patty from McDonalds.


Row was the first to sample this MRE. He noted that it smelled good, but the smell didn't translate because he said that it "tastes like Chapstick".  He didn't eat anymore.

Red Ant, the four year old, also said, "I don't like it because of the flavor".

Sweetheart noticed a subtle tang to the taste, and we checked the ingredients to check for any ascorbic acid that contribute to the flavor, but none was seen on the package. She commented that the texture wasn't the same as a frozen or fresh sausage patty and she suggested that by grilling the patty, it might have a better texture.

I noted that there wasn't a strong maple flavor in the sausage and that the texture was a bit fluffier than most meats. We do eat maple sausage links at our house, so we have a good comparison to base this review. I ate all of mine and was okay with the MRE. The patty was a nice chunk of meat, but didn't sit heavily on the stomach. This could be a benefit for any strenuous activity, such as a long day of hiking.

Final Thoughts:

This MRE did earn two stars from the adults, but I thought at least one of the boys would have given it a third or fourth. I think that the lighter texture of the sausage patty was a turn off for them, plus it was outside of their usual sausage. The sausage didn't have a particularly strong maple flavor, and the pork flavor wasn't very strong either. I could see a few field dishes where this MRE could be combined or used in other dishes as a meal basis. Let your imagination run wild. I still like the grilling it idea!

Stars: * * (2)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

For LindaG - Garlic Hoagie Rolls Recipe

Here is the recipe, it was adapted from Taste of Home magazine.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup warm 2% milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 pat butter, softened 

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 3-1/4 cups bread flour
1. Mix the first six ingredients in a mixing bowl and let yeast proof.  Make sure that liquids are around 80-100 degrees so that yeast will activate.
2. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add last two items into mixing bowl and mix. Add more flour until not tacky to the touch if needed.
4. Take dough from bowl and coat with olive oil. Place in clean bowl and let rise for an hour or so.
5. After dough has risen, cut and shape into 9 mini-loaves.
6. Let rise for 30 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and once preheated, bake for about 18 minutes or until brown.
8. Cool loaves on cooling rack.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why My Classmates Hate Me

They don't really hate me, but my lunch is often a quick lunch topic at the cafeteria. For example, a homemade garlic hoagie roll with honey ham, prosciutto, Swiss cheese, American cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Topped with Zatarain's creole mustard for a little spicy kick.

If you'll excuse me, I have a sandwich to attend to...


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Faith In Humanity Restored

Keep On Prepping - K

Boy with cancer scores big with Cornhuskers fans
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Standing barely chest-high to his Nebraska teammates, 7-year-old Jack Hoffman was the star of the Cornhuskers' spring game this weekend after taking home the title of leading rusher.
And now his 69-yard touchdown, along with his story about fighting brain cancer, is attracting millions of fans.
Video of Jack dressed in a full Nebraska uniform, charging down the field Saturday before more than 60,000 fans, had been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube by Monday. It also aired on ESPN and national news networks.
His father says he hopes Jack's memorable touchdown will highlight the need for more research into pediatric brain cancer.
Jack, who lives in Atkinson, Neb., was diagnosed in 2011. He's had two surgeries and is on a two-week break from a 60-week chemotherapy regimen.

MRE Monday - Cherry Turnover

We decided to do a safer MRE this Monday instead of the past two spicy entrees we have reviewed previously.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 3.1 oz.
Calories: 280
Calories from fat: 60
Total Fat: 7g or 10% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 0mg or 0% DV
Sodium: 300mg or 12% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 47g or 16% DV
Dietary Fiber: 3g or 12% DV
Sugars: 17g
Protein: 5g
Vitamin A: 8% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  6% DV
Iron: 4%


We have reviewed the apple turnover, so I'm expecting cherry instead of apple.


The first reviewer, Row, the seven year old, took his usual small cautious bite, and quickly declared that he didn't like it. I asked why, and he said that there were too many cherries, and it tasted like jelly. While he doesn't have a sweet tooth, I did find this interesting. I didn't press the subject, because we want to still keep this a fun time for Army men food reviews.

Red Ant, the four year old, parroted the same response when asked about why he didn't like the cherry turnover. This son likes jelly on his peanut butter sandwich on occasions, so this was another interesting turn for the review.

Sweetheart, thought that the smell reminded her of cherry pie, but the turnover had a small amount of filling when compared to a Hostess fruit pie. While the jelly is actually more of a jam texture, with small tidbits throughout, the cherry had a good flavor. The crust was a little disappointing for her, as it didn't have much flavor, and the texture was more like a danish than a pie crust.

I took an immediate liking to the turnover. The crust had a soft, moist, and chewy texture. The filling reminded me of a Pop-tart in flavor. The tidbits of cherry were a nice touch, but I would have liked to see a little bit more filling inside the turnover.

Final Thoughts:

I've tended to like the dessert MREs more than the entrees, but then again I like desserts better than entrees. I did like the apple over the cherry, but that is just a personal preference too.

I would throw an extra one into my pack for a weekend trip without a second thought. The boys would probably eat it, and possibly enjoy it, if push came to shove, but it didn't earn their stars for the review.

Stars: * * ( 2 )

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Movie Review

We watched most of  After Armageddon, which is a History channel production about the aftermath of a global pandemic and the effect on society. It follows a couple and their older son and the events that happen to them. 

It has the basic prepper information, but I did find a few new tidbits. For example, the effects and progress of dehydration and starvation were interesting to learn. At 1:28:00, you'll have to decide if it is worth your time. Sweetheart and I both enjoy a good disaster/survival movie so it was more of a movie night  for us. We also like to make Mystery Science Theater 3000 comments as well. I like Crow the best, while I think Gypsy might be my Sweetheart...if we had to pick.

We gave it a 7 and 8, so 7.5 out of 10.

It's on Youtube, so it's some free entertainment and it has a prepping angle. Enjoy the weather, and take care.

Keep Right On Prepping  - K

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Weekend Plans

My big plans this weekend? Buying a new lawnmower because I killed the last one with a BIG rock. Yeah, it bent the blade shaft and destroyed the drive belt system. Cheaper to replace this round. I'll also be cleaning up the garden and checking the asparagus that we planted last year for sprouts. The strawberries will need to be transplanted to a better location too. It's still too early to plant some seeds, but I can start dreaming.

The grocery store has to be visited and a trip to the community college. It seems that someone [me] has kept their email active at the community college to destroy small forests print handouts for another college. After 2 and half years, I'm finally getting a return on my investment from my activity fees.

Oh course, inside stuff has to be done. Cleaning and laundry and such....

Take Care and Keep Prepping For The Future - K

Friday, April 5, 2013

Through No Coaching Of My Own

Mrs. Rose, one of the wonderful daycare workers, has been furthering her education on child development and using Red Ant as a case study in one of her classes. This basically revolves around ono on one sessions to assess physical and mental skills as the year progresses. Rose has our full support since she holds a special place in both of our kid's hearts.They regularly think about her, and wanted to take her on trips with us. She has a rare gift of being able to love other people's children as her own.

She stopped me the other day to tell me a funny story about Red Ant. During February, they did a small lesson on Presidents. I imagine the conversation went like this from her description:

Rose:   Do you know who the current President is?
Ant: No
Rose: Can you say Barack Obama?
Ant: (shaking head no)
Rose: Why not?
Ant: We don't talk like that at our house.

What can I say? He's only four and already a prodigy.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Cram Sessions

Today will be devoted to Radiological Imaging, Radiographic Procedures II, and putting the final polish on Radiation Exposure. This is the first time this semester that we have had 3 BIG tests on on day. I should have spent more time on spring break studying, but I guess the proverbial grasshopper [me] has to play catch up.

We received bad news about Row's school assignment two days ago. We have been taking Row to daycare with his brother, so that he could ride the van to school. This allows us to transfer him to a much better school, because of  "transportation problems". Sweetheart and I even talked about selling our house and buying a new one in his current school assignment area to avoid him going to the ghetto school.

I called the district desegregation affairs office, and played nice with the people there. They were really helpful in figuring out what went wrong with the process, and allowed me to submit more paperwork. I think, but not sure, that I had forgotten one piece from the daycare provider. I had our daycare provider submit another form, and the problem was solved.  I got a call before lunch saying that  Row will be reassigned to his current school. He will continue to receive a much better education. 

Sweetheart took her some flowers as a thank you yesterday afternoon because she sent in the paperwork pronto.

His current school is rated an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, and the ghetto school is being closed and turned into a truancy school. While we do pay more for Row to ride the van, we consider it a small price to pay for his education.  

We have to go through this every year too.

Most people use a relative's address to go to the school of their choice. While we try to play by the rules, it seems like honest people are always being penalized for being honest.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

The comment line is open.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm trapped in a fortune cookie factory!

I'm taking a break from this...

and this...

All I've got to say, thank God for study groups!

Keep Right On Prepping ( while I'm studying ) - K

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 Challenge Update - Mar Accountability

*Increase our families preparedness food supply to 6 months of long term storage. 

We were able to put up 4 lbs. of 15 bean soup, which we split into 8 ounce jars. Six pounds of black eyed peas were also sealed in jars. We would have done more but we ran out of quart jars. We also bought 3 five gallon buckets and lids for our rice, but we haven't sealed the rice yet. While the amount is small, we continue to put up small amounts every month.

*Get into better physical shape - diet and exercise.

Jan 1st : 182.2 lbs.
Feb 1st: 179.4 lbs
Mar 1st: 184.2 (Too much birthday cake!)
Apr 1st: 186.2 (Okay, wrong direction!)
May 1st:
Jun 1st:
Jul 1st:
Aug 1st:
Sep 1st:
Oct 1st:
Nov 1st:
Dec 1st:

*Get better organized in the home.

3-2 I hung up my CD racks and started to organize the back junk room for a study area. The two closets were also cleaned out and organized - one is a backpacking closet while the other is a long term food storage bucket area/ tool closet.

3-26 The kitchen, boys rooms are back to their old ways again. The kitchen will take about 20-30 minutes to put back into place. Time to reclean and purge. Outside yardwork is also starting to happen again. Where will I find the time?

*Complete some long standing projects - Kitchen and downstairs bathroom

The sewer blockage was fixed the first weekend of this month.

*Reorganize our food storage into a better logical format.

Completed and still in good shape.

 *Get better grades in school ( 3 A's 3 B's last semester ).

3/1 scored 85.4% on Procedures II
3/22 scored 65% on Pro II test - first time to sign "flunking paperwork".
3/29 scored over 100% with bonus questions.

3/1 scored 88% on Imaging so it drops my grade to a B.

3/12 I received my midterm grade for Radiation Exposure and it stands at 97%.
3/22 Scored 85.7% on Radiation Exposure Exam #3(outta 5 + final)

3/14 The university allows some students to take one senior level class per semester, in addition to the regularly scheduled classes, to speed things up for the degree plan. Well, I talked to the director and got her approval to take an extra class.

*Go to the range more often with Sweetheart.

Not this month. We did have a range day scheduled in WV, but it snowed that day, so the range was closed.

*Teach the kids new practical survival skills : outdoors skills, common sense camping

We got to go on several hikes while on vacation. Row also was able to earn his Hiking belt loop and academic pin on our vacation for Cub Scouts. They both provided practical information for outdoor skills.

*Learn to bake better bread.

I picked up The Bread Machine Book by Marie Lambert at the thrift store and tried a standard focaccia bread recipe. Good, but I doubt if I will use the same recipe again. I'll have to keep trying different recipes.

 *Pick three skills to work on with wife.

1. shooting

 *Be more consistent with the MRE Monday reviews.

The year to date is 11 out of 13 Mondays.

*Improve our family's water plan.

I was able to trade for a MSR hiker water filter. While the filter is very slow, and requires a lot of energy, it does provide our family with a way to purify water from a nearby lake.

Purchased a small bottle of bleach for water purification.

 *Do a monthly review of each for the blog to hold myself accountable.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Monday, April 1, 2013

MRE Monday - Turkey Chili With Beans

Sweetheart got to pick out today's review, and here it is on a Monday evening for April Fool's Day.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 8 oz.
Calories: 180
Calories from fat: 25
Total Fat: 2.5g or 4% DV
Cholesterol: 30mg or 10% DV
Sodium: 480mg or 20% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 34g or 11% DV
Dietary Fiber: 13g or 52% DV
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 17g
Vitamin A: 6% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  15% DV
Iron: 90%


Canned chilli with beans would be my guess.


Row was the first to sample the chili, and I quote, "Hot,Hot,Hot....I don't like it". This is the second week in a row that we had a kid "spicy" entree.

Red Ant With Pincers, was saying that he didn't like it even before he had a small bite. Sweetheart fed him a bite and he said that "Don't like it".

Mother-in-law was dining with us and she made the comment that it resembled ranch beans. "It doesn't taste like chili, rather like ranch beans." I wasn't sure whether she liked it or not, but she did finish her small sample. The conversation between Sweetheart and MIL did at one point revolve around the fact that the  size and nutritional contents of the package would make for a nice diet food.

Sweetheart, thought that it was heavy on the beans and humorously noted that the packaging should be called Beans With Turkey Chili. She did like the spicy flavor of the chili and said that it was decent. She also didn't hesitate to give it a star and made the final comment that it was "pretty good".

I thought that it had a good texture and the spicy flavor started to kick in around the middle of the chewing process. I'll admit that really spicy food makes me sweat, but this wasn't too spicy. I'd also like to say that I'm not a big fan of chili. Even with both of these considerations, I could see a package getting into my backpack for an extended trip to vary my diet. The nutritional values are really good for an MRE, lots of fiber and the sodium is on the low side.

Final Thoughts:

The Turkey Chili With Beans isn't a bland dish nor a Tabasco spicy hot either, but a nice compromise between the two. The chili does have a lot of beans, so if you prefer your chili without, I would look elsewhere.

Stars: * * ( 2 )