What Can I Do To Keep My Kids Safe?

keeping kids safeI’ve lost a lot of sleep these past few days. It’s my own fault.

What brought it on? Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about kids and survival lately. What can I do to make sure my kids survive? Not only survive, but thrive, live on with hope? What happens in an emergency situation if we are separated? All of the bug out bags and paracord in the world won’t help my daughters find their way to a safe place if I’m gone. And, even if I am here, how long can you endure a world that has changed completely?

What brought this on? The Movies… the News… Books… Family experience.

Think about it. In times of crisis, who do you care for? Your own people, of course. But, what about the other kids… the ones who lost their families? Do you view them as an intrusion? Another mouth to feed? Or do you help them?

Where do you draw the line?

How far will your humanity allow you to go?

In the Miyazaki film “Grave of the Fireflies”, a boy and his sister lose their mother during an air raid in Japan during World War 2. They make their way to a distant aunt, but instead of caring for them, she treats them like a burden. They end up leaving and trying to make it on their own… but they fail.

The Empire of the Son by JG Ballard is based on the life of the author, and the time he spent in a POW camp as a child in Asia. He learned to take care of himself. The adult POWs seem to consider him a pest, a burden, and not really their problem.

My father was a refugee as a child. He was lucky because someone helped him find his family. How can I be sure my kids will be safe too?

Consider the Road by Cormac MaCarthy. After finding a Prepper haven loaded with food, soap, and even cigarettes, a cleaned up Vigo Mortenson looks at his son and says, “you think I’m from another world, don’t you”? His child only knows hunger and grey skies… cold and fear. What kind of a world is that for a child? And what happens when the father dies?

So now, with all of this swirling through my head, I wonder. What can I do to protect my kids? They have basic emergency training… but what if it becomes permanent? What can I give them or teach them that will insure their safety, even if I’m not around? Who can I trust? And can I still trust that person if the SHTF? Will I be strong enough to deal with the aftermath of catastrophe armed with a can opener and some water?

Any help? Suggestions?  Is there anyone who can give me some peace?




Stockpiling at the Dollar Store?

Dollar StoreIs the Dollar Store a worthwhile place to stock your pantry? Over the past few weeks I’ve started working on my stockpile with more organized intent. Sure, I’ve always bought extra cereal when it was on sale, but now I’m looking at foods and goods that are helpful in an emergency situation.  I’ve read several articles lately on stocking your pantry or go-bag at the Dollar Store, so yesterday, I checked it out.

The Dollar Store in our area is not a true dollar store. Items are around a dollar… many are more $1.29, $1.47, $2.99, and up. That’s understandable, this is the Bay Area of California, and everything here seems to be more expensive than it is in other places. My next out-of-state road trip should give me a better perspective on prices.

So, is the Dollar Store worth your time? Well, yes and no….

I will start with the canned goods, since most everyone seems to want loads of them. The cans all started at $1.00, and went up from there. Now, a can of beans can be bought at Target for 84 cents, and if I have a coupon, or bump into a sale at my local grocery store, I can get them as low as 50 cents. The same is true for canned spaghetti /beefaroni or stew. To me, the DS isn’t a bargain for those items.

Dollar storeMy DS was stocked with LOADS of ethnic foods. Thai, Indian, Mexican and Chinese sauces and spices loaded the shelves. Because I like to cook a wide variety of foods, I checked the prices. They are lower in the DS than at the grocery store (in the specialty aisle), but the price isn’t much better than going to a local ethnic store. In fact, I shop for most of my spices at a local Indian store in bulk. Then I re-bag at home.

There are a number of items that are a worthwhile purchase. Sewing Needles and Upholstery needles are a bargain at $1.00 for a packet of 30. Safety pins are also a must get. The craft store sells them for much more.  You can get clothesline at a reasonable price. I bought one, and put it in the back of the car straight away. There were loads of storage containers, and the prices seemed alright.

My other purchases were tea (I’m a tea drinker) at $1.00 a box (great price), tropical dried fruits and some Vanilla Wafers (I use them for pie crust). Since I’m a baker, I grabbed up baking soda and baking powder. Because I want to check on the quality of these products, I only bought one of each.

Dollar storeSchool supplies like pens, spiral notebooks, paper and crayons seemed reasonable… but Target, Walmart and most office stores have incredible discounts in August, and I stock up then.

Finally, I bought hard candy. I love having hard candy in my bag or car to quell the hungries when I need something sweet. Having candy or gum in an emergency situation can be a calming thing. They had loads of different kinds. I am a bit skeptical about some of the no-name brands, but I’d give them a try.

Now, I looked at the tools and kitchen supplies. The cleaning products looked like they were reasonably priced, and I just purchased a load with coupons last week, so the prices were still familiar. Vinegar, ammonia, and bleach were more than a dollar, but still reasonable. The tools made me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s an old bias, but my daddy taught me to buy GOOD tools so they don’t fall apart on you when you need them. Of course, in a pinch I’d take a second rate hammer over nothing at all. The same holds true for the kitchen gear. Some looked shoddy. Other things looked fine.

My analysis, for what it’s worth, the Dollar Store can be a good place to buy certain things, but not everything. Go in knowing what you want/need… and go in knowing what the appropriate price should be. Don’t go in like a kid in a candy store thinking “oh, it’s only a dollar”… those dollars do add up. Check expiration dates, look for dings in the cans, feel the materials. Remember, you are shopping for items that you may need to count on; cutting corners on important things is a bad idea.


Starting Out- How Far Do I Want to Go? Prepper, Homesteader, Self-Sufficient…. or Just Ready for Anything!

In the last few years my life has changed in ways I never expected. Suddenly, I found myself a single mom to 3. (Granted, one is out of the house, and another is a teenager … but the last one is still young). We used to live in a house with a yard, but now we are in the top floor a duplex with less space…. and no real garden.

Now, this is not a tale of woe is me. I certainly don’t expect violins. This is a tale of new beginnings. I’m ready to start a new life…. not just the life of the suburban soccer mom.

Over the last year I learned that I can take care of myself. I don’t NEED a husband to get things done, in fact, judging by my marriage, I never did. (I can get rid of spiders without any help, and I know how to change the oil in my car!)

But now I want to take it one step further.

I want to become truly self-sufficient. Not just “oh look I can pay for things on one paycheck” self-sufficient…. I want to know that I can live through anything that the world throws at me. I want to be able to unplug from the crazy world and know that I have all the tools and supplies to survive. Real survival, whether it’s for a disaster (this is Earthquake prone California) or for the long term. In case of total social breakdown SHTF event, I want to be READY!

Naturally, my first stop on the road to self-sufficiency was online. (Isn’t everything online?) The internet is loaded with websites filled with information on how-to unplug. Sifting through it all, I’ve only become more confused. Not to mention overwhelmed!!! Do I have the pioneer spirit to be a homesteader? Are my political views in line with today’s Preppers? Or do I let my “I can do it myself” nature take over and become self-sufficient. Do I really want to remove myself from the world entirely? Can I unplug… and survive?

This year will be an experiment to see how far I am willing to go. Baby steps first… disaster preparedness… and then moving on to a deeper commitment of stockpiling supplies to last a year. Eventually, I hope to have to money to buy land where I can start growing my own food.

Why am I sharing this information with you? Well… part of me wants to show someone that I have what it takes. Part of me is looking for ideas (and I’d love to hear your input) and then there is the teacher in me that wants to show other women and families what can work (and what doesn’t).

I hope you will join me.