Sunday, September 29, 2013

Economic Observations - Part 2 (The Solution?)

First the legalities, I am not a financial planner. I am a husband, father, and prepper that is trying my best to provide for my family, and to insulate them from the cruel reality of the world. My personal plan may not be best for you, but I believe that my actions are good ones for all of us. My ideas are based on the varying degrees of collapse and government reaction.

Rule number one: Get out of debt! The problem with slavery, besides being immoral, is that the owner has to pay for the slave's food, shelter, and possibly healthcare. Today with the availability of easy credit, those problems have been solved for the owner. The modern slave now owes part [time] of their life [wages] to the creditors, and has to pay for their own food, shelter, and possible healthcare themselves. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." The Dave Ramsey plan is an outstanding program and that we use. You can position yourself into an excellent position by following his principles. I also recommend reading a post from Monsoon Matriarch about living below your means.

When you don't have any savings, a seasoned prepper will tell you that the likelihood of a personal economic disaster is 100%.

Pioneer Preppy also had another great article on how to survive the collapse, which is also recommended reading. My advice and his are very similar. The slow slide will be ugly. As groups of people fall under government care, the mobs won't be protesting the government. They will be cheering like the scene from Monty Python...

"Burn the Witch"

The frugal and prudent citizens will be penalized for their forethought and planning by new taxes, fees, and outright legal theft.

I have always been a big proponent of "Keep your cost of living low!' Get rid of cable, and use a Roku player, Netflix, and your internet for your media needs and save money. Be creative, and take a hard look at where your money is going. Eat at home, and learn some new recipes from your food storage.

Education can also be a key to surviving the collapse. Whether it be the medical field, accounting, or other very essential services. Your low level entry positions will be nothing but modern day serfs, that can barely eke out a living. The working class heroes will be the ones that suffer by the decisions made from the ivory tower executives. The lifestyle of the educated may not be lavish, but can be somewhat comfortable.  A word of warning though, help out the less fortunate with your education. Just like Stalin executing the leaders and educated from Stalingrad, the new leaders will fear people that can think critically and independently. Be ready to leave on a moments notice to a rural retreat.

The rural retreat will be one of the most pressured in the beginning. It is easier to control the city than the countryside, as evidenced in Afghanistan. The pressure to drive people into the cities will be through higher gas prices, taxes, and jobs. Pioneer Preppy has the right ideas: barter, self-sufficiency, agricultural over-production, and off-grid thinking.

Barter and the underground economy is going to be essential to avoid taxation. Keep a low profile, and only exchange what is absolutely needed. This isn't the time to increase your wealth. If you start making plays for profit, then you could receive extra attention to your farm and family.

The trading of surplus agriculture will have a two-fold effect. The first one is by offering a good deal to the neighbor-in-need, you are promoting charity and goodwill. The other is to provide a source of currency for taxes and fees that the government will impose. I would suggest at least a 200% personal consumption rate. This allows for crop failures, and other unforeseen factors. Anything over 200% should be fair game for trading, charity, or sale. Practice food preservation techniques before the stores are not available.

Off-grid thinking will lower your energy cost, and reliance on others. Remember that the collapse will be easier for those that require less outside input. A solar panel for your water pump to fill your water barrels will be invaluable. Water is your number one priority. The beauty of off-grid thinking is that after the initial cost, your monthly bills are lowered or the same. Solar panels to recharge batteries for light and tools would also be a valuable asset. Basically anything that you can control for your basic survival, the better off you are.

Use cash to purchase items that you don't want tracked. Matter of fact, start using cash on a regular basis and make it a normal pattern for your behavior. Prepping items should be bought with cash, and without loyalty cards, or membership cards. Nothing tracked means that you can cache it. The same goes for firearms, buy with cash from a private buyer. No records means that you can cache or hide it.

These are just a few of my thoughts, and hopefully I've sparked a few ideas of your own. As always, comments are welcomed and encouraged. Expansion on any of these ideas, or points that I may have missed are encouraged as well.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Home Flashlight Review

I've been quite busy this week with school, but I've managed to squeeze this quick review in for a rechargeable flashlight for home use. More detailed posts will follow when time allows.

I highly recommend the Energizer Rechargeable LED flashlight. The flashlight cost us $8.88 at China-mart and has been a storm preparation item that can be bought, and forgotten about until needed. Who doesn't love low maintenance?

When the weather ready flashlight is plugged into the outlet, and the setting is set to "on", if the power is interrupted then the flashlight automatically lights up. We have had ours for over three years, and are still very satisfied with our flashlights. With a few of these around the house, you won't be left in the dark when the power goes out.

I would buy one for the living room, bathroom, and bedroom for maximum convenience. If you are a light sleeper, one could be placed in the bedroom to alert you to a power failure. Another useful tip would be to place the flashlight into the power strip or outlet from your generator, so that when it runs out of gas, you will instantly have light to find your personal flashlight.

We could also use two more for our house for the boy's bedrooms, but making sure that they stayed plugged in might be a problem! What boys don't like to play with flashlights?

What are you light plans when the power goes out?

Keep Right On Prepping - K

This is available through My Amazon store for $7.99 each and an Amazon Prime item, so free shipping applies if you are a member. Note: If you have an .edu email address, then you can get a free trial membership. I've had my free trial membership for over a year now!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Economic Observations - Part One

I know that the hot topic of blogging has been about the slow economic collapse that is currently happening. I'll go ahead and throw my two cents in the ante pot as well. While I'm no economic expert, I have followed politics and economics like people follow their favorite sports team. I find that my hobby has a greater impact on my personal life than watching sports.

First I'd like to lay out a few facts:

  • The US current has a "official" debt of nearly 17,000,000,000,000.00. Source from Treasury Direct. I say official because it hasn't really changed since 5/31.
  • China has been open about not wanting to use the US dollar as the currency for trade by making its own bilateral trade agreements that bypass the greenback.
  • China has recently entered one of these agreements with Venezuela. I suspect that China's true end game is to bypass the US dollar for oil payments. The petrodollar has been  a major force behind the foreign policy of the United States since leaving the gold standard. 
  • China is already a superpower that wants to replace the US as the world leader, and they have been economically destroying the US without having to fire one bullet.
  • The Fed used to have some control over the US economy through rate increases and declines to cool or heat the economy. The housing collapse in 2008 destroyed a lot of the Fed's ability to control rates because of the mortgages in default. To revive the housing market, and the bank's balance sheet, cheap money had to be available for qualified buyers. This leaves the Fed with only one option, the printing of more money to buy its own bonds, since China is no longer interested in buying America's bonds. It's purely a pragmatic move on their part.
  • The Fed cannot stop printing money. If interest rates rise, then people will once again start defaulting on personal debt, and that will be the real start of the world economy collapsing. Eventually, China's population will replace America as the economic driver for the world's economy, but I suspect that China's leaders want to make sure that the US is no longer a threat before that happens. Sun Tzu 101
  • I also have a theory that immigration has largely been politically ignored to increase the demand for the housing market. and cheap labor.
  • The QE∞ will cause inflation that will continue to cripple the middle and lower wage earners. Prices go up, and wages stay stagnant while lowering the quality of life for most everyone.
  • Everyone remembers Cyprus and the "bail in"? Well, it has quietly expanded into Poland that plans on moving private pension funds into the control of the state for debt reduction. Government has never been a good steward of the citizen's money. Ever.

In part two, I'll lay out a strategy to combat the coming collapse. It will require discipline and frugality, but I'd rather do these things on my own terms than being forced into them. As preppers, the most probable SHTF scenario is going to be economic.

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Keep Prepping - K

Monday, September 23, 2013

MRE Monday - Cornbread

Today's MRE review almost didn't happen, but Sweetheart prodded me into selecting this one for the review. 

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 2.5 oz.
Calories: 240
Calories from fat: 80
Total Fat: 9g or 14% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 10mg or 3% DV
Sodium: 390mg or 16% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 37g or 12% DV
Dietary Fiber: 1g or 4% DV
Sugars: 13g
Protein: 3g
Vitamin A: 10% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  2% DV
Iron: 6%


Jiffy cornbread would be a good nationally recognized brand that would be a good expectation.


Row and Red Ant with Spikes took small bites, and both said that they didn't like it. I will point out that neither of them really care for cornbread, and these didn't have any butter on them either. I hope that both my boys develop a taste for it, because as a Southerner, cornbread is almost as important as iced tea. Hopefully we will find a recipe that they enjoy.

Mother-in-Law: "Hmmm...It's similar to Jiffy and has a good texture. It's real good."

Sweetheart first noticed the sweetness in the cornbread, and how moist it was. She thought that it didn't need any butter.

I have a few differing opinions about the cornbread. I don't care for sweet cornbread nor sweet tea, but the MRE cornbread would do in a pinch. It would compliment the potato soup pretty well. I did find it humorous that the cornbread was shaped exactly like all the other breads, desserts, and sandwiches. Do they send the same baking tins to all of the MRE manufacturers? Anyways, I would place the cornbread texture right next to cake. I would also have to disagree with my wife, and all cornbread needs butter. The more the better!!!

Final Thoughts:

If you like sweet cornbread, then I would consider ordering a few for your backpack or your BOB. The cornbread is pretty filling, and at 2.5 ounces, I would categorize it as light and filling. That's a great combination for a pack food. Even though my review leaned towards the negative aspects of the cornbread, I would order and eat it again. Sweetheart placed it on the B-list for ordering, and I went with the A-list. Her reason was because she doesn't eat it much, while I appreciated the weight and fullness factors.

Stars: * * (2)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Range Day

After a quick search of Google maps of the area that we usually go shooting, I found a new spot to shoot. We took the boys out for some gun safety training, and trigger time. The Four Gun Safety Rules ( refresher by e.IA.ft. ) were drilled into the boys even before touching a rifle.

We also have the golden rule at our house: They can touch a gun whenever they want, all they have to do is ask Mommy or Daddy. The guns are off limits without an adult. If they find a gun without an adult present they are to leave it alone, and immediately tell an adult.

BB, pellets, and 22 shorts for both of them. Red Ant with Spikes wanted to shoot Mommy's little gun (Ruger LCP), and he did once. He didn't care for the long trigger pull.

Sweetheart got some much needed trigger time behind the SR556E and enjoyed it.

The camera was a tad too slow, but you can see the dust-up from the hit.

The motley collection of guns for the range day. We finished the day running 9mm pistol drills.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Deserve It

Row and I were getting ready for Scout Night, so he could earn his recruiter patch a few Thursdays ago. Thursday is also Row's cooking class that he really wanted to take in his after-school care, and it ends at 5:30pm. The scout night started at 7:00pm, and he had to be there to help open the door, answer questions, carry the flag, and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

We finally got home about 5:45, and Sweetheart and I made a quick dinner while Row did his schoolwork. We ate the quick dinner, but Row piddled around, which didn't help with the time crunch. So, here it is at 6:40 and I get Row into the tub for a quick bath.

We get Row out of the bath, and I'm putting on his neckerchief  while he tucks in his shirt. By this time, Row is dressed, it's 6:54, and it takes 7 minutes to get to his school. "Let's roll.", as I head out the side door to the car. I get to the driver's door and Row is nowhere in sight. "Are you serious?", as I storm back into the house to get Row motivated. He's standing on his head in the middle of the living room when I ask, "What are you doing?!" He does a forward somersault, and looks at me kind of puzzled and says, "You told me to roll."

As I said, I couldn't get mad, and I deserved it!!!

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Official Notice: Ammo Shortage Nearing End!!!

I did another round of scouting for ammunition after school today, and I am happy to report an end to the ammo shortage. I'll be removing my ammo poll that is on the right column very soon.

22LR is still hard to find, but most other calibers were available. The prices seem to have slowly crept down over the last few months, and a few good finds were available. I was able to pick up 150 rounds ( 3 boxes of 50) of 9mm for .2798 cents per round.

Store 1:Lots of 5.56 in the plastic ammo cans

Store 1: 250 9 mm averages to .3199/round

Store 1: A 60 round magazine (still too pricey for me!) was available

Store 2: Lots of ammo, still no 22lr though

Wal-mart left side of display case

Wal-mart right side of  display case

There were lots of magazines, but I didn't really look too closely. I would be interested in a few, like 20, Ruger 10/22 25 round magazines.

The third store is a local one, and I didn't take any pictures inside of it. The ammo shelves were full and most boxes had a two dollar premium from the old prices. This store even had a half barrel  that contained 12,500 rounds of 5.56 for $5,999.90 (.4799/round).

Let's restock our ammo supplies this time so that we can continue to go to the range on a regular basis doing the next shortage.

So my question: What are your goals before the next shortage or what would you do differently?

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Monday, September 16, 2013

MRE Monday - Pork Rib, Boneless, Imitation

I gave Row the choice between the pork rib and sweet and sour soy, and the ribs won.

Click to enlarge,so that those with allergies can read the ingredient list.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 3.5 oz.
Calories: 290
Calories from fat: 220
Total Fat: 24g or 37% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 70mg or 23% DV
Sodium: 590mg or 25% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 2g or 1% DV
Dietary Fiber: 0g or 0% DV
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 15g
Vitamin A: 0% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  0% DV
Iron: 30%


I can't help but think of the McRib from McDonalds, and it might not be such a bad thing.


Row, the seven year old, always starts with a small  bite. He raised his eyebrows slightly, and thought for a minute while he chewed. "Not bad, and the chicken is the best I've tasted too." I didn't burst his bubble, but found it interesting that he thought it was chicken. We also try to stay away from McDonalds, so he doesn't have a point of reference for a McRib sandwich.

Red Ant with Spikes, the four year old, took his bite, and started to shake his head no. He started to have a gag reflex, and Sweetheart told him to spit it out. She would much rather hear him spit it out, than hear the other. I don't think he would even eat it if he was starving. Needless to say, no thumbs up from Red Ant.

Sweetheart thought that it had a good BBQ smell, but it didn't translate into the BBQ taste. She thought that maybe if it was served on top of a bun that it might make a good sandwich. "It's alright. I wouldn't seek it out, but would eat it if offered."

It reminded me of a hamburger patty with a mild smoky flavor. The texture was reminiscent of a sausage patty. I 'd eat it, but it wouldn't be my first choice of entrees.

Final Thoughts:

This MRE rode the fence on a lot of things. The texture was okay. The smell was good. The taste was mediocre to gag reflex, depending on who you talked to about this entree. It did get the adult's approval, but only barely. It could make it onto the B-list of ordering, and it would have to be deeply discounted. While these aren't ringing endorsements, it would eventually get eaten during an extended scenario. I really hate to give it three stars, but we don't do half stars in our reviews. Either you will eat it or you won't eat it.

Stars: * * * (3)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

MRE : The Price

I posted a full review of an MRE pouch from Meal Kit Supply company a few days ago, and Harry Flashman made a comment about value, and MREs. Here's the quote:

 "I'm conflicted about MRE. They are good, wholesome and easy to store. But they cost so much that I think of the food I could just buy at the grocery store with the same money. I compromise by keeping some, but not a huge number. I also make sure my kids have some in their apartment, where they have little space for storage."

I completely agree with Harry. MREs have their place in a prepper's pantry. The core of the debate really boils down to frugality, and the situation in which the MRE will be used. If you are looking for a year's supply of food, then MREs are a poor choice. A quiet day hike through your local nation park, and an MRE is probably not your most frugal choice either. I'd much rather pack a sandwich, chips, fruit, and a bottle of water for lunch.

On the other hand, I've been on a few canoeing trips when on the sixth day, an MRE for dinner was an excellent way to end the day. I've also cached a few MREs when I did week long hikes in the fall, and an MRE or two were nice changes to the menu. You don't have to worry about menu selection, and the food doesn't go bad because it got too hot.

We have a few reasons that we keep MREs at our house. Long term storage of meat for dinner can be problematic, and MREs can expand your menu choices. The brisket is excellent, and the dinner meal can be rounded out with canned vegetables, and Macaroni and cheese.

The desserts will be a welcomed comfort food, and are hard to bake on a camp stove.I have really been impressed with most of the dessert options of the MREs. While they cost almost as much as a cake mix, they are for long term storage, and already prepared. These have always gone over well on the extended backpacking trips, and are fairly lightweight to pack. I can almost guarantee that someone will ask you if you have another in your pack!
The portability of the MREs are excellent, as long as you aren't on foot. The MRE pouches, at a little over a pound each, are too heavy for an extended backpacking trip. Plus, there is a lot of packaging from a used MRE. Freeze dried foods are an option for the wealthy, and home dehydrated meals are the cheaper route. I could expand this into some of my backpacking menus, but I'll stay on topic.

For disaster situations and charity, the MRE reigns supreme. The MRE is self contained, except for the water needed for it, and requires no additional equipment to prepare.

In a SHTF scenario, MRE would be a good advantage for stealth. It requires no fire for preparation, and can be ready in ten minutes, or eaten cold. Our suburban plan, is to use MREs once the neighbors start  looking for food, and the exodus from the cities. We don't want to tip our hand about the food that we have stored by preparing it on the propane grill, or the white gas backpacking stove. We estimate that the likely gap will be about two weeks to a month depending on the season of the event.

The debate boils down to finding a proper balance between cost, use, and the situation.

My question is this: Why do you store MREs?

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Meal Kit Supply MRE Review - Pouch 6

This is a first in a series of full MRE pouch reviews from Meal Kit Supply. The time is quite considerable when doing these full reviews, so I'll be trying to complete at least one a month. If time and school allows, then I'll try to squeeze in an extra one here and there. The future also holds a "Meet the Reviewers' post and a new page for Meal Kit Supply reviews. You can also check out their Facebook page, and let them know that we sent you!

Nutritional Information:

The complete nutritional information for every pouch, and the items in them, are available here.

Menu 6 includes: 19 oz (1.19 LB)

Apple Maple Oatmeal
Brown Sugar Toaster Pastry
Wheat Snack Bread & Blackberry Jam
Maple Muffin Top
Orange Electrolyte Beverage Powder
Instant Coffee, Creamer, & Sugar
Condiments, Spoon, Moist Towelette, Napkin

After opening the pouch, the MREs are individually sealed to further protect the freshness and quality of the food. This allows you to save or trade certain dishes.

The water-activated flameless ration heater is not your standard heater either. It is a heavy duty 22 grams, instead of 11 grams, and will heat up your rations in the coldest of conditions.

The orange drink was mixed with the recommended amount of water, and I thought that it would have been better with a little less water.

  • Row, the seven year old, likes Tang and thought that it tasted a lot like it.
  • Red Ant with Spikes, the four year old, didn't care for the drink. 
  • Sweetheart, my lovely wife, didn't really care for it, but she doesn't care for Tang either.
  • I compared it to Orange Kool-aid after the ice had begun to melt. A little less water and it would have been much better.

The cocoa was a smash hit!

  • Red Ant, the youngest, was the first to take a sip from the mug. After his first taste, he then proceeded to almost chug the hot cocoa. 
  • Row liked the hot cocoa just as much, and we had to split the remaining cocoa between the two cups. I'm pretty sure that a family feud was about to start over the remaining cocoa.
  • Sweetheart noted the good chocolate smell and liked it. 
  • My only thoughts were "creamy chocolate goodness!"

The Toaster Pastry was actually a little bit of a shock. I hadn't planned on seeing a Pop-tart in the MRE. I imagine that it would be nice to see a familiar product during a stressful situation.

Surprisingly, the Pop-tart was in excellent shape and wasn't broken into pieces. The pouch and vacuum sealed package of the Pop-tart won my star, when the Pop-tart emerged in one piece. Through numerous backpacking trips, I have reduced many foods to crumbs before they made it to my plate.

  • Sweetheart's comment was that "it tastes just like a Pop-tart!" 
  • Red Ant said that "I like it, but not to eat it all." 
  • While Row said this: "I gotta tell you. It's cinnamon and I like it!"
  • I've never had this flavor and thought that it was very good.

  • Row, the seven year old, hasn't had much of a history with oatmeal, but thought that it tasted like the apple pie that they had made in kindergarten.
  • Red Ant with Spikes, the four year old, is new to oatmeal and didn't care for the cinnamon and apple variety. He doesn't like cinnamon either.
  • Sweetheart was thoroughly impressed with the oatmeal. She thought that it was better than the Quaker brand, and "to me, that's not oatmeal. It tastes like a dessert!"
  • I immediately noticed that almost half of the oatmeal was minced apples, about a 40/60 mix. The oatmeal was very comparable to an apple crisp. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise.

  • Red Ant didn't like the Blackberry jam on the wheat bread. He actually prefers grape jelly, which would have probably been better for the review.
  • Row didn't like it either, but he's not a jam person either.
  • Sweetheart was impressed with the all natural ingredients in the jam, and noted that the taste was excellent.
  • I thought that the blackberry jam was a nice compliment to the wheat bread. The bread has a heavy texture and the jam had a pleasant tartness to it. We opted to leave the butter off the bread since it wasn't in the MRE, and I really didn't miss it. The bread and jam would make for a decent light breakfast if you were in a hurry.

  • Sweetheart really liked the maple muffin top the last time it was reviewed, but liked it even more this time. "It smells like a pancake, but had a fresher feel than the earlier sample we tried." The hint of maple was also pleasantly noted.
  • Red Ant with Spikes thought that it smelled good, but didn't care for the taste.
  • Row's spontaneous comment was that "it would be a good camping pancake...with syrup."
  • On my first bite, the freshness was very noticeable compared to another company's maple muffin top that we had reviewed. The maple muffin top could have very well passed for a homemade one, if I hadn't taken it out of the package myself.

The last item that we opened was the condiment pack, and I had joked earlier that the only thing missing was a cup of coffee. Well, you can image my big grin when I saw the packet drop out of the wrapper. While the coffee is instant, it had a good taste and would leave me wanting for another cup of it.

Final Thoughts:

This is a lot of food for one person, and I could easily see this pouch being split between two people. If all of the MRE pouches have this much food, then I could eat just two pouches a day, and still be very happy. This MRE pouch is also self-contained and has everything you need except for the water, and the time to enjoy it. You can also leave the stove at home, because the ration heater is in the pouch too. It didn't really occur to me until writing this review, but this meal is vegetarian. If all vegetarian meals were this satisfying, then I could do more meatless days.The freshness factor was also noticeable, it does make a difference.

The favorite drink and food pick for each reviewer:
  • Row: Cocoa and Pop-tart
  • Red Ant: Cocoa and Pop-tart
  • Sweetheart: Cocoa and oatmeal
  • K: Cocoa and a tie between Oatmeal and Bread w/ jam

Apple Maple Oatmeal * * * (3)
Brown Sugar Toaster Pastry * * * * (4)
Wheat Snack Bread & Blackberry Jam * * (2)
Maple Muffin Top * * * (3)
Orange Electrolyte Beverage Powder * * * (3)
Instant Coffee, Creamer, & Sugar * * (2) The boys didn't sample this one

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

12 Years Later

12 years ago at 8:46am on Sept 11th.....

"Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda." - NY Times

Now, our current President has pledged support to the Syrian rebels that have ties to Al Qaeda.

Impeach: In case anyone forgot, he pledged to protect our nation from ALL enemies foreign and domestic.
Treason:  The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies.

I'm outta here. I've gotta help some vets at my clinical site this week. Has this nation's leaders gone mad? I know that I am....

Never Forget!

Buy Some Ammo and Keep Prepping - K

MRE Monday - Pork Sausage With Cream Gravy

Today's MRE is a breakfast dish and is available through Emergency Essentials for $2.75 each.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 8.0 oz.
Calories: 220
Calories from fat: 110
Total Fat: 12g or 18% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 40mg or 13% DV
Sodium: 800mg or 29% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 15g or 5% DV
Dietary Fiber: 0g or 0% DV
Sugars: 3g
Protein: 10g
Vitamin A: 2% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  2% DV
Iron: 6%


I've tried a canned cream gravy once, and I wasn't that impressed with the product. Plus, I like to make a cream gravy at home, so I have pretty high standards.

The camera batteries dies, so I took these with my phone.


Row, the bacon aficionado, took a big bite of biscuit with the cream gravy on it and thoughtfully chewed it. He commented that next time he would prefer a bite without the gravy.

Red Ant with Spikes was the first to try this MRE with his usual small bite. I asked him how he liked it, and he kept shaking his head. He wanted to spit it out, but washed it down with chocolate milk instead.

Mother-in-law immediately liked it. "Restaurant Quality" was a nice compliment that she gave the MRE and noted that it even had some flavor!

Sweetheart liked the sausage texture, and it had a real good sausage flavor, but the gravy has a bit on the thin side. She also noted that it was good, but not great. Overall, she was pleased with the prepackaged gravy and gave it her thumbs up for a star rating.

I thought it had a good white color and a pleasant scent. On my first taste, I just sampled the gravy, and I thought that it was a little blanch for a white gravy. It could have benefited from a little more pepper. I did like the fact that it had a lot of sausage bits. My next bite had lots of sausage in it, and I had to reassess my first opinion of the gravy. The sausage added a nice kick to the gravy, and complimented the gravy very well.

Final Thoughts:

There was a lot of sausage, and plenty of gravy. The gravy nicely covered two Grand Biscuits that were split in half. The last bite mopped up the last little bit of gravy on the plate. This MRE tasted much better than the canned variety, but cost twice as much. This MRE would rock on a cold morning a long way from the trail head.

Stars: * * (2) 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Delayed MRE post with some Humor

MRE Monday will be Tuesday for tomorrow only, since today was busy like Saturday and Sunday. Here's a little humor to pass the time. I had three big tests today, and frankly I'm whooped...

It would make my life so much happier.

'nough said.

For my brother

There was never another show like it.

I think I'll change the world one beer at a time.

Keep Right On Prepping and I'll see you tomorrow - K

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Radio Update

The new radios were returned to Radio Shack yesterday because then didn't hold a charge for very long. After sitting in the window all day, they ran for about 2 minutes. A good two minutes of cranking the handle yielded about two to three minutes of low volume playing. Needless to say, the boys weren't happy about the battery life. More importantly, Mommy and Daddy weren't happy with the battery life because they kept coming out of their rooms to have the radios recharged. I would rate these radios a one star out of five. They could have been rated higher, if they had a place for AA batteries...go figure.

Save your money and Keep Right On Prepping - K

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I've got three tests on Monday: Procedures for Pediatric Exams, Radiation Protection in Medical Radiography, and then Physics of MRI. It winds up on Tuesday with an exam in Special Imaging Procedures. Needless to say, I'll be busy studying this weekend.

If you haven't found the time to refill gas cans, and maybe stock a few more preps into the pantry, then it might be a good weekend to do it. Keep your ear close to the ground, since Syria is a powder keg. The idiots in charge don't want to listen to their constituents about not bombing Syria, but I'm not really surprised. It seems that we are on our own, and the higher levels of government have gone rogue. Not to make light of the situation but this cartoon seemed appropriate, and I apologize for the language in advance.

The sheeple aren't going to be happy when they wake up.
The government will continue to erode the Constitution.
The producers/employed will continue to be economically squeezed.
The situation is going to get worse.

Take Care and Keep Right On Prepping, it is doubly important - K

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kids, and so it begins...

Tonight is trash night and the youngest is helping me collect the trash. I reach into the trash can and notice that someone has been leaving their artwork on the cabinets (pictured below). Red Ant is downstairs collecting the trash when the inquisition starts. I've got a fairly good idea who's it is too...

K: Row, come here for a minute.
Row: Okay
K: Did you draw on the cabinet?
Row: No
K: Alright.
(Red Ant comes back upstairs and Row is gone)
K: Ant, did you draw on the cabinet?
Ant: No.
K: Well Row didn't do you think Mommy did it?
Ant: (shakes his head no)
K: I know that I didn't do it, so that leaves you and Row. Do you know who did it?
Ant: Row didn't do it.

Now, I'm not much on four year old logic, but I think that's an admission of guilt.

K: Did you draw on the cabinet?
Ant: (looking down) Yes
K: If you had told me the truth the first time, then I was just going to have you clean it. Since you lied, I'm thinking that I need to give you a spanking and have you clean it.
Ant: (starts to tear up)
K: ( I sit down and tell Ant to come here and I give him a big hug while telling him) I'm not going to give you a spanking this time, but when you lie to me I think that you don't like me. I'll also have a hard time believing you if you lie to me.
Ant: (through the tears) I didn't know that drawing on the walls was against the rules...(sob sob)
K: Well they are against the rules. We only draw on paper.
Ant: (drying up now) Okay.
K: I love you, now take this wet rag and clean up your mess.

He then proceeds to clean up the scribblings. He walks over to the next cabinet, and shows me a yellow marker scribbling that is barely visible. Ant says that "this one didn't want to stay here very good", so he cleans up that one too. For the next few minutes, he goes around the kitchen showing me different marks that he has left on the cabinets while cleaning them up. Yellow highlighter on the stainless steel dishwasher that he informs me didn't "stay very well."

I wouldn't trade my boys for anything - K

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two is One Radio Day

Row had hijacked Sweetheart's radio that went downstairs in her office. Of course, Red Ant with Spikes wanted one too! For the loyal few that regularly read my blog, you might be wondering "Spikes?", I thought it was Pincers.

Red Ant with Spiked Thorax courtesy of bugnet

I was reviewing an old MRE post in which I asked him what he wanted to be called on the blog and he said "Red Ant with Spikes" so....

But back to the radio...I did a little on line research and found that Radio Shack actually had a few cheap Radios. How ironic huh? Anyways, we got there and they were running a September preparedness special on radios and for an added $7.00 we got the cool Eton Microlink FR160. I has a solar charger and hand crank on the side to charge the batteries. It also includes a flashlight and radio that is dial tuned.

The radios will be a good science lesson for the boys including:
  • Mechanical and chemical energy
  • Input and output of energy
  • Which uses more power. A high volume radio or a low volume radio?
  • How solar power works.
  • Charging the battery on cloudy days with solar power versus sunny days.
  • How a tuner in the radio works.

The biggest bonus is that it doesn't use any AA batteries, which means that if the boys leave it on all night, then it won't cost us a dime. The boys also get a real life lesson by cranking the handle. You get what you put into it. If you wanna give up, then you don't get many songs.

Both have a way to charge an Iphone. Plus, our family now has three little radios that don't require batteries.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Yesterday, we went to the store to buy a few items for dinner and other items that made it to our "must have" list. My usual routine is to check the change when it gets into my hand, and I noticed a particularly old nickle.

Then I realized it was my birth year! Nothing like an odd observation to put things into perspective.

Take Care and Keep Right On Prepping - K

Monday, September 2, 2013

MRE Monday - Beef Ravioli In Meat Sauce

Today's MRE is beef ravioli in meat sauce. It should go good with the sandwiches that are planned for dinner.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 8.0 oz.
Calories: 290
Calories from fat: 80
Total Fat: 9g or 14% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 25mg or 8% DV
Sodium: 700mg or 29% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 39g or 13% DV
Dietary Fiber: 3g or 12% DV
Sugars: 4g
Protein: 16g
Vitamin A: 10% DV
Vitamin C: 10% DV
Calcium:  6% DV
Iron: 15%


We are expecting the MRE version of the canned stuff from the Chef.


Row, the seven year old, explained that it was "medium good" which is along the lines of an extra medium sized T-shirt.

Ant with Spikes, the four year old, took his small bite and declared that it "doesn't taste right like spaghetti." It didn't go to waste very long since Row was sitting right next to him. Ant's sample ended up being eaten by his big brother.

Sweetheart commented that "it reminds me a lot like Chef-boy-r-Dee. She noted that the sauce was thicker than the canned variety, which she liked. She preferred the MRE tomato sauce over the canned stuff and it earned her star for the dinner. She also noted that the MRE was good with the boxed wine of White Zinfandel.

The nickle sized ravioli with the pellet meatballs had a very mild flavor. I have to remind myself that a lot of companies have to tailor their food palate to the lowest common denominator. This MRE entree could use the small bottle of Tabasco that accompanied the older MREs. Do they still put the small bottles in the MREs of today? Anyways, the texture was the same as the pasta with differences in the dish.

Final Thoughts:

I would have had more photos, but in my haste to transfer them to the computer, I deleted them and I do apologize for the lack of them.

This is one of MREs that if the canned variety is an option, then buy the canned variety because there is virtually no difference. This MRE would be better suited for canoeing because it wouldn't sink, and other situations when the canned raviolis wouldn't quite fit. Another scenario would be where the chemical heaters are being used due to a no campfire area or stealth camping.

These would be put on the B-list for ordering because of the above mentioned reasons.

Stars: * * * ( 3 )