Thursday, December 12, 2013

Saving Important Documents

Saving Important Documents

I'm one of those people who likes to be super organized and have "a place for everything and everything in it's place," not that I always succeed; but it's really important to keep track of certain things and organize them before you really need them and it's too late.

It's a good idea to make copies of your important documents and/or save them together in a safe place in case of emergencies/disasters.  I have a list below of some documents to consider saving in a special place.  If possible, keep them in a fireproof box or safe or have copies in different places in case something happens to your house.  You can buy a small fire box for a reasonable amount.  Also, you might want to keep documents in a plastic bag to keep them dry on the move.  If you go to grab them, better to have them in a bag than have to try to find one in a rush.

When I posted this, I could find this fireproof
 box for under 20 dollars.

~~Save your receipts!  Save receipts on anything you are still paying for and on recent bills.  If (when) a major economic collapse happens or a major disaster happens that could include computers crashing, you don't want anyone to be able to say "well, we don't see that you've made a payment on that for the last six months."  This would include your house, car, electric bill, etc.

~~Something to consider.  A lot of people look up and save information on their computers for emergencies; but an important thing to remember is, if a major disaster happens, chances are you won't have access to your computer anymore or have the time to look up a bunch of information.  It's very important to take notes and print information and keep it in a safe place for when you need it.  I especially like Pinterest to save photos with links to information, but I try to take notes or print the things I may need in an emergency.  Also, it's a good idea to buy books on certain subjects that will come in handy in an emergency.

~~ID photos. Also, it's a great idea to have a photo of each family member in case you get separated in an emergency. 

~~I don't know about flashdrives myself, but you can store information on those to take with you. 

~~Some suggested documents to get organized and keep in a safe place:

Birth certificates
Identification cards
Next of kin information
Emergency numbers
Driver's license copy
Social Security card
Marriage license
Divorce papers
Tax information
Recent bank statements
Recent bill receipts
Property deeds
Mortgage Agreement
Rental agreement
Wills, including living wills
Power of attorney papers
Medical insurance and cards
Eyeglass prescriptions
Medication prescription list
Vaccination list
Pet vaccinations, including rabies
Gun permits
Business licence
Car insurance policy
Life insurance policy
Credit card information
Court orders
Other important legal documents

Also see my post on having a BOB, Bug Out Bag, and items to store in there, including important papers.  (click here)
Thanks for checking out my blog.

Please leave some of your own ideas and tips in the comments below.  
You don't have to sign in, and it can be anonymous.  ;)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Purifying Water in an Emergency

Purifying Water in an Emergency

This is not far from my home, a river going out 
into part of Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior.  :)

If you are caught in some sort of an emergency without healthy tap water or stored water, there are several ways you can make water safe for drinking.  The first choice, if possible, would be to boil it...

Bring the water to a boil and boil for a minute.  

Some sites will tell you to boil it for 5 minutes; but really, just getting it to a boil will do it.


Use regular household bleach (5.25-8.25%) that hasn't had perfumes or dyes added.

Use 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops) per gallon of water and let it sit for 30 minutes.

For cloudy water, use double the amount of bleach.


Use 3 drops per quart or  12 drops per gallon of water and let sit for 30 minutes.

Use double if the water is cloudy.

Iodine Tablets

Use per the directions on the bottle.

Home-Made Filter
Use layers of gravel, sand, and charcoal to drain the water through.  You can cut the bottom off of a 2-liter bottle, turn it upside down, layer charcoal, then the sand, and then the gravel at the top.  Use a cheesecloth,  coffee filter, or  nylon over the opening where the water comes through the bottom.  
You can use different types of sand in the layers also with the more coarse sand above the fine sand.  You can even include cloth in between some of the layers.

Emergency Filter Straw
You can purchase special "straws" to drink water through like these: (great for a backpack)


You can use a clear water bottle and lay it in the sun for at least 6 hours.  The ultraviolet light kills pathogens in the water.  Here is an informative article about using sunlight to purify water.  (click here)   


I found this interesting article about how you can use Alum to remove "suspended particulates" from the water before filtering it.  I had never heard of doing this, but you can check it out.  (click here)

Thanks for checking out my blog. :)
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Dock Plants, Dock Seed Flour

Dock Plants, Dock Seed Flour

Broadleaf Dock with flowers.

A young Curly/Yellow Dock

Dock Seeds
You have probably seen these along roads.
Dock (Rumex) is in the buckwheat family.  The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.  You can use them anyway you would spinach or add the raw leaves to salads.  It should be eaten in moderation.  Older leaves should be boiled in changes of water to remove the bitterness, oxalic acid.  Young flower stalks can be peeled and eaten.  Once the seeds are brown, they can be eaten cooked or raw.  Keep in mind, the seeds are very high in fiber.  ;)  Seeds can also be used as a substitute for coffee.  The seeds can be ground into a flour to be used as a flour extender (mix with regular flour).  No need to hull the seeds.  You can use a blender, grain mill, mortar and pestle, coffee grinder, etc.

Some people boil the roots and use them in medicinal ways.  You can look up more info on that and how to do it.  I'm not getting into the medicinal aspects of the plants quite yet but plan to. 

This looks like a good article about Dock...  (click here)
Wikipedia article...  (click here)

 Dock Seeds
Pick the stems with the brown dry seeds 
in late summer and fall. 

The seeds pull off easily.  
Pick out leaves, stem bits. 

Cleaned out.


Dock Flour Bread (one loaf)

1 package active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water 
2 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 Tbsp shortening
3 cups flour
2 cups Dock flour

You can adjust the ratios of flour to your own taste, using less or more Dock flour and can use a mix of white, wheat, Dock.  

Dissolve the yeast in about 1/2 cup of the warm water (hot or cold can kill the yeast) and then add the rest of the water.   Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  You want the dough to be easy to handle.  You can add extra water or flour if necessary.  Knead on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl and brush the top with melted butter.  Cover and let rise until double.  Punch it down and then roll out or just press it with your hands into a rectangle shape and then roll into a bread shape, tucking the ends under.  Place in a greased bread pan, brush with butter, and let rise until double.  Cook at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Brush with butter.

Kneaded and ready to rise.

Fresh from the oven and brushed with butter.

Here is another recipe for Dock Flour Bread... (click here)

Dock Seed Crackers
1 c flour
1 c dock seed flour
1 tsp salt

Mix water until pliable but not sticky.  Roll as thin as possible.  Greased cookie sheet, 10-12 minutes, 375 degrees.
Recipe source.. (click here) 

Thanks for checking out my blog.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Survival Bread

Survival Bread

I think the true "survival bread" that will really last indefinitely is Hard Tack.  (There is a place where they have some from Civil War times on display that is still edible.)  You can check out my blog post on that if you like... (click here)

This following recipe says it will last indefinitely. I don't know, but I'm sure it would last a long time.  I think it would be a good recipe to whip up if you have a little time to prepare for a potential disaster coming your way, like a hurricane, or to throw in a backpack.  

Credit where credit is due, I saw this on Pinterest on this blog... (click here) 

~See my comments afterward for a few suggestions before you try it.~

Survival Bread

2 cups oats
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 cup sugar 
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp water
1 pkg. lemon or orange Jell-O (3oz)

"Combine oats, powdered milk and sugar. In a medium pan, mix water, Jell-O, and honey. Bring to a boil. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. (If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of water a teaspoon at a time.) Shape dough into a loaf. (About the size of a brick.) Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool. Wrap in aluminum foil to store. This bread will keep indefinitely and each loaf is the daily nutrients for one adult." 

I mixed the wet and just heated it in the microwave.  When you add the wet to dry, mix it up but then get your hands in there and knead it together.  Otherwise, it will mix too dry and you will end up adding more water than necessary. I used 3-4 Tbsp. Make sure to grease the pan!  As it cooled, it stuck like cement.  Also, it cuts much easier before it cools. I thought the Jell-O flavor was just a tiny bit too strong.  (I used lemon.)  I'd use maybe 1/2 to 3/4 the amount.  The recipe says to shape in a loaf like a brick, but I shaped it into 3 small loaves.  Whatever you prefer.  I cooked it for 20 minutes, but 15 would have been enough.

It had already cooled, and my knives aren't great, 
so I just cut it into chunks rather than nice thin slices.

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Home-Made Wet Wipes

Home-Made Wet Wipes
Wet/Baby Wipes,  Glass Cleaner,  Bleach.

You simply need a closable container, a roll of paper towels cut in half, and a few ingredients. 

Recipes vary a little.  You can tweek them to your own liking. If you make different ones, be sure to label them clearly.  You wouldn't want to use bleach wipes on baby's bottom!  If you like, you can boil the water first to sterilize it. 

Wet Wipes/Baby Wipes
2 cups water
1 Tbsp baby wash or baby shampoo
1 Tbsp baby oil, mineral oil, or coconut oil.

I used a large knife to cut the paper towels in
 half.  It wasn't hard to do.

Mix the ingredients and then pour over the paper towels.  You can tip the container up and down to saturate the paper towels well, but it will work its way up.  The center cardboard pulls out easily after it's wet.

Pull the paper towels out from the center.  I used an 
actual wet wipe container I already had.

The moment of truth. I pulled one out, and it separated easily from the next one just like the store-bought ones.  :)

Some people use a coffee container like Folgers or a container from the dollar store. 

Bleach wipes
2-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup bleach

Glass Cleaner Wipes
2 cups water
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup vinegar


1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap


2 cups rubbing alcohol
1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap

Thanks for checking out my blog!  :)
Feel free to leave a comment below.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dollar Store Finds to Stock Up On

Dollar Store Finds to Stock Up on 
for Emergencies

Keep in mind, just because you can get something at a "dollar store" doesn't mean it's a better deal.  Take into account the quantity you will get, the quality, and what all you can use it for.  Some items, even though the quality isn't as good, are so versatile and can be used for so many different things that they are still worthwhile stocking up on.  It's a good idea to get the better quality versions to go along with some of them though.  For example, their duct tape and masking tape.  I just sealed a door up for the winter and had to use the dollar store tape because I ran out of the good stuff, and it's just not sticking properly.  It keeps coming loose.  I definitely want to invest in some better quality tape for more emergent uses like sealing up windows and doors from (depending on where you live) cold in a power outage, dust storms, volcanic ash, fumes from a terrorist attack, etc.   Still, the cheaper version can be useful for a lot of things.  I do like their wide, clear, packing tape and use that for a lot of things. 

Some items sound good but you don't get much like a bottle of Ibuprofen, for example.  You only get 40 pills (the store here).  Equate Ibuprofen at Wal-Mart comes out to .56 cents per 40 pills.  Also, you can get a better price at other stores (often a bigger quantity) for things like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, bleach, cotton balls, etc.  Some items are less than a dollar at other stores like baking soda and salt, just a couple I can think of off the top of my head.  I haven't priced everything, but it's something to keep in mind.

Some things I like to stock up on just as a cheap backup when I can't afford to stock up a lot on the better quality products. For example, shampoo and conditioner, while I don't like their shampoos and conditioners, I've stocked up on them for emergencies.  When the SHTF, you can't be too fussy; and I'm sure I won't be too concerned if my shampoo doesn't lather the way I like.  ;)  (I even made dry shampoo just in case there is a lack of water at some point.  You can check that out here...  (click here)  Same with their dish soap.  You can get a huge bottle for a dollar.  While I prefer Dawn or Joy, and they work much better, the dollar store version will work ok in a pinch; and I feel much better having a couple huge bottles of cheap dish soap in the pantry than none at all since I can't afford to stock up on the good stuff right now.    

Also note, off brands at dollar stores often come from countries with loose regulations so may not be as safe; so use discretion.  I think the main concerns were things like foods, electrical cords, pet food, toothpaste.

Some things to stock up on:

Solar Lights 

Glow Sticks - I tried one, and it actually lasted a long time but they aren't very bright.  I haven't tried any other ones to compare them with.  Anyone compare them?

Dish Soap 

Hand Sanitizer - Especially important during an epidemic.

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Floss, etc.  - I like to buy the same toothbrush each time because I get used to the size and shape; and the one I kept buying, I think, is about $6 now!  It's just plastic for goodness sake! I finally decided to just get some cheap ones.  I now get a pack of 2 for $1, and I like them just fine now that I got used to them. That's only 50 cents a piece.   There have been concerns about off-brand toothpastes from places like China.  I get my Close-Up there.  I've used that since I was a kid.  I've found those single-use Wisp toothbrushes there too, which are great for putting in a backpack.  Not sure if they have them anymore.  Some nice things they have are only temporary.  :(  

Shampoo, Conditioner, Misc. Toiletries 

Paper Napkins - I priced these at Wal-Mart to compare, and the dollar store ones were cheaper, maybe not as good quality; but I get a pack of 160 at the Dollar Tree.  I figure it can be used as emergency TP too, although you couldn't flush these.  I don't think their TP, paper plates, or regular paper towels are a good deal as compared to some other stores or sale prices; but these paper napkins are nice to pick up, one or two, each time I go there.

Coffee Filters - Many uses.

Miscellaneous Plastic and Glass Containers

Reflective Sun Visors - Some people use these to make solar ovens.  I was going to but decide to go with aluminum foil.  You can check out my solar oven here...  (click here)

Dust Masks  - While I think it's good to stock up on some cheap dust masks, you want to get some high-quality ones too, like the N95 masks.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment

Bandages and Gauze

Emergency Candles, Matches, Lighters

Steel Wool - You can start  a fire with this and a 9 volt battery. For my fire starter post and photos... (click here)

Super Glue

Utility Knives/Box Cutters

Plastic Drop Cloth - Many uses, including to cover an emergency shelter.

Plastic Table Cloths - Again, many uses.

Plastic Shower Curtains

Plastic Ponchos - Two in a pack.

Aluminum Water Bottles 

Tape - masking, duct, electrical, packing - (See the note above. Get some good quality tape too!)

Playing Cards, Puzzle Books, etc.

Note pads, Sticky Notes

Pens, Pencils, etc.

Manual Can Openers - Buy a good quality one too!

Sewing Kit - I once bought a pack of mini spools of thread there with dozens of  colors!  :)

Plastic Zip Ties

Bungee Cords

Rope, Twine

Work Gloves, Latex Gloves

Garbage Bags - Again, get some good  quality big ones too.  Bags can be used for so many things though.  I recently discovered their small bathroom sized bags, 50 to a pack.  Flimsy but still nice. 

Security Items? - I once bought window alarms there.  Nice to have.

~~Look around, they get different things in.~~  :)


I wouldn't recommend their batteries. They are cheap and tempting to buy but don't last very long.  I wouldn't even want to stock up on them as a cheap backup.  Batteries are too important.  Just look for sales at other stores and stock up then.  E-bay is a great place to get inexpensive name brand batteries.
We get a lot of mosquitoes here, and I use anti-itch cream on bites.  I bought a tube of the Hydrocortisone Cream from the dollar store, and it didn't work near as well as the generic one I get from Wal-Mart.  I suppose it can't hurt to have an extra tube of the cheap stuff.  Maybe there are some things it helps with??

I personally don't think many of the foods there are a great deal as far as foods to stock up on.  Some are, but why pay $1 for a can of green beans when I can get them on sale for less than that? There are some good finds.  Last time, I found bottles of olives that look like rejects; but that's ok because I cut them up anyway when I  make olive burgers or spreads.  

Please share your own suggestions below or let us know
 if you priced something and found a better deal 
elsewhere. You don't have to sign in to comment, and
 it can be "anonymous". 

Thanks for checking out my blog today!  :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stumpers/Honey Mushroom Photos

Stumpers Galore!

Holy Stumpers Batman!  Must be a great year for fall mushrooms because I've been picking bags full of Stumpers (Honey mushrooms) every day in my yard and woods.  I thought I'd post a few more photos.  See my post about them on my Edible Mushrooms post for more information...  (click here)   


NOT a Stumper!

These have brown spores, not white.  Do a spore print.