Frugal Accomplishments for the First Week of 2018

Happy New Year, everyone! As you may recall, one of my favorite reads each week is Brandy’s Frugal Accomplishments post on The Prudent Homemaker. I love the sense of community, the many ideas shared by Brandy and her readers, and the inspiration and encouragement I get from each post and comment. I prune things from my to-do list every year, but one constant is reading (and hopefully contributing to) these lists – so I’m sticking with sharing on my end for 2018.

Here’s what my family accomplished the first week of January, 2018:

Saved $23 household supplies at Target – Using Cartwheel app we Continue reading

10+ Preparedness-Related Stocking Stuffers

Woo, folks, I’m really feeling frisky with the gift list today! A friend of mine took the time to send some positive feedback on the stocking stuffers list and I have to tell you, it really made my week. It’s always encouraging to know that something inspired someone, especially when it’s a topic that is near and dear to my own heart as well. Her comment got me cooking with steam heat, as my mother would say, so I’ve got a big bunch of ideas for you.

Need more? My first two preparedness-related stocking stuffer lists are HERE and HERE. I hope you find this list helpful as well, because I’m sure having fun thinking of things for my own family as I go!

  1. Solar device charger – This seems to be trending for all the techies this year, so go with it! Some chargers will charge two or even three devices at once, so take note of what your intended recipient is using and buy accordingly. Some chargers are rated to charge a smart phone with one outlet and a tablet or the like with the other, so keep an eye on those voltage ratings.
  2. Luci (or similar) lantern – I purchased a Luci lantern last month and really fell in love with it. There are other brands out there, so check them all out. I was excited to see that our Luci was even already charged when it arrived; if you order one of these for someone, consider leaving it out where it can charge up so they can play with er, test it immediately.
  3. Sewing kit – A pocket-size sewing kit can be useful for something as simple as a popped seam or a lost button at an event, so even if your recipient isn’t interested in being the Most Prepared Person EVERRRRR, they’ll find this handy.
  4. Button jar – Yes, seriously. My mom has given me not one, but TWO button jars. They are adorable decor and super handy. Who here remembers Ma Ingalls giving the girls buttons to make Baby Carrie a toy for Christmas, hmm? Bonus points if you are crafty like my mother and stitch a special button-themed piece of art to make the top of the jar lid pretty!
  5. Baby wipes – This is a no-brainer if your loved one has a baby; one does not simply leave home without travel wipes! Even once the littles are potty trained, baby wipes are handy – literally. Keep them in the glove box for wiping hands clean after a tire change, throw them in a purse or laptop bag for degerming all the things. Campers, hikers, and hunters can attest that one can wash a variety of bits and bobbets on oneself with baby wipes. Most asked for deployment treat when I sent boxes to my husband? Baby wipes. Feeling splurgy? Get the bigger shower wipes. Oooo, fancy!
  6. Duct tape – As the old joke goes, if you can’t fix it with duct tape or WD-40, it doesn’t deserve to be fixed. Always handy.
  7. Tourniquet & a Sharpie marker – Why a Sharpie? So you can write the time the tourniquet was applied – on the tourniquet or on the person, doesn’t matter. SUPER useful if your loved one is an emergency responder or military service member, but also vital for Average Joe and Josephine Citizen thanks to things like active shooter situations. Know a teacher or a CERT member? This is a great gift. If you know they are already trying to become more prepared citizens and are local to them, offer to watch the kids for them so they can attend a Stop the Bleed class. No kids to watch? Attend the class with them – you’ll double the number of citizens who can respond proactively in a crisis. Seriously. Call your local fire department and ask who in your county offers it. (I just went through this training in November and I have to say, it’s amazing. I’m pretty passionate about it now. Can you tell? Can you can you can you?) 😉
  8. Toilet paper – Okay, this list is heavy on the crafts and the bodily functions. But really, what do humans do the most? Eat stuff, break stuff, and make *ahem* stuff. Just in the last two weeks I’ve seen multiple bloggers discussing the virtues of toilet paper and cloth wipes. Everybody uses something – why not get them something they can use? (Or if they are a family cloth family and you aren’t, something YOU can use when you go visit. heh heh) Particularly useful for college students, starving artists, and well, everybody who poops. Also useful for starting the preparedness conversation with a joke, a la “I know you aren’t interested in having a pallet of MREs, but thought ‘Who doesn’t want extra TP in the cupboard?'” *insert jovial laughter here and wait for them to say they would like to know what MREs are!*
  9. Rite in the Rain notebook (plus a mini pen or pencil) – Technically any little notepad is handy for the recipient to chuck into their purse, console, or briefcase, but Rite in the Rain products go a step further in usefulness. And if your loved one is an avid outdoorsperson, they will know you went above and beyond with this one. Google them – you won’t be sorry. (And you may want some for your own emergency kit, purse, pocket, glove box…. you know where I’m going here.)
  10. Travel hygiene kit – And no, I don’t mean those TSA-friendly empty containers that the recipient has to fill with their own stuff, unless you drew the traveling salesman in the office gift swap and have no idea what else s/he could use. (Um, newsflash – lots of things in this series would be good for said gift swap person. #justsayin ) If you have a person who enjoys testing out new fragrances, a goodie bag from someplace like Bath & Body Works would be fun. Know what products they use and know they aren’t open to change? Go with their signature scent or brand. They aren’t into Caramel Apple body butter and Santa’s Cinnamon Shampoo (or whatever scents are hot this year)? Go with basic travel size goodies and know that they can use them on a business trip, in a 72-hour kit, or they can stash them in the linen closet until the day comes that they forgot to buy toothpaste last payday and now they’ve run out – but wait – your gift to the rescue (TA DAAAA)!
  11. Emergency yarn – Nope, I’m not kidding here. If you know someone who knits or crochets, get them a ball of cotton yarn and the appropriate sized hook or needles. (Don’t know which they use? Get both. They’ve got this. Don’t know how to pick the size? It’s on the label – any craft store clerk can help you find the right one.) Why cotton? Because in an emergency (or boredom on a road trip), your crafter can stitch up at least two wash cloths from one ball of yarn. Also to be used for personal wipes (there we are with potty gifts again…), sweat rags, a baby toy, an emergency dog collar, or copious amounts of other things. Worst case, you’ve got a ball of string that you can tie stuff to other stuff with. Ask my long-suffering spouse, who sees emergency yarn and a hook in his glove box for the rare times I ride in his car instead of in our truck. Which also has emergency yarn in case he’s driving and y’know, traffic. We may or may not have family members who got handed a wash cloth when we got to their house after sitting in traffic at length. Hey – handmade gifts rock, right?
  12. Battery-operated emergency triangle – If you live in a dry area, road flares can be a little anxiety-inducing. Nobody wants to be changing a tire and start a wildfire by mistake, right? Look for a batter-powered flashing triangle. There are even handheld LED types that have a regular white light for flashlight uses; they have a hook on the top and magnets on the back so you can hang them inside your hood while assessing an engine issue or stick them to the trunk to warn oncoming motorists of your disabled vehicle. They are also helpful for distracting small children in the backseat during long drives – just keep an eye on those batteries. Not that my child has ever left one on when we got home, no, not that.

December 2017 Goals

How did November go for you? Did you accomplish some of what you hoped to? You can see my November list here, with updates. Now, on to December! I’ve decided to shorten my list this month, so I’ve only put a couple of items in each category. It can be a bit discouraging to have a long list of things and only get a portion of them done; I’d much rather look back on each week and have the potential to ADD things that I did instead.

Sprout seeds
Sort & scan vital documents to USB drive
Write preparedness curriculum for kids’ 2nd semester (This started as a social studies unit study, because Continue reading

8 More Preparedness-Related Stocking Stuffers

(See part 1 of this series here)

Are you getting inspired by the idea of helping your friends and family become more prepared this holiday season? I have to admit, I’m having a ton of fun coming up with these ideas. I have some family members who further along their journey to preparedness than others, and I love the thought of finding something they haven’t seen yet (or haven’t splurged on for themselves). On the other hand, being able to help others get started is exciting to me – I hope that something I get them will serve them well at some point.

That said, give this second installment to my list a look-see. Maybe you’ll spot just the right little item for someone you love as well!

  1. Hand sanitizer – Find out if the recipient uses the standard alcohol-based sanitizers or prefers herbal or essential oil based products. I adore the offerings of Grove and Clean Well, personally.
  2. SAS Survival Guide Pocket Edition by John Wise- While bigger stockings might hold the full-sized version, this pint-sized edition is super handy. Our copy has been toted around the planet by my son since he was about four years old. He fell in love with it because it was “bubby sized”; he keeps it around as a preteen because it’s just so useful!
  3. Multitool – Pick a brand, any brand. Depending on your budget, you might go with a starter from Wal-Mart (under $5) or a hefty beast that can take on almost anything (we like SOG products at my house). Just remember to take into account the maturity level and activities of the recipient – a discussion about proper use and not carrying it into a classroom might be in order.
  4. Seed sprouting kit – Know someone who wants to eat healthier or loves gardening but has no land? A sprouting kit in a jar might be just the ticket!
  5. Mylar emergency blanket – Just one of many things that can go in their glove box, backpack, or office drawer as a key start to an emergency kit.
  6. Freeze dried food in small pouches – Fruits like banana and peach slices are handy as the beginnings of a food storage effort, as they let the recipient test out a few brands before committing to anything. A fun option for kids are dessert items like cheesecake bites, astronaut ice cream, and the “Snackies” line from Thrive Life.
  7. Water collection/filtration device – The hikers and hunters on your gift list will probably appreciate a good metal canteen or water bottle (not insulated – that way they can boil water and cook directly in it!); if you know the person is trying to put together their first emergency kit, you might lean more toward a Seychelle water bottle or a Lifestraw or Sawyer filter, or even a container of water purification tablets. You can even find Nalgene bottles with emergency kits in them at your local outdoor store – even more bang for your buck.
  8. Fire starter/fire starting kit – Another goodie you can go peruse in the camping section of your favorite store, again keeping in mind the maturity level of your recipient. Fire starting can be as simple as some strike-anywhere matches (add a couple of jar candles and it’s decorative and functional) or a handsewn leather bag with tinder, flint & steel, and much more. I’ve gotta say, Mrs. Santa is making sure a there’s a Bushcraft Necklace from Wazzoo Survival Gear in her own stocking this year. Just sayin…..

8 Preparedness-Related Stocking Stuffers

It’s that time of year again – folks are trying to get their holiday shopping done and hopefully stay on budget. For those who want to get their family more prepared, this is the perfect time to pick up a few little things that can add up to a lot if an emergency strikes. In some cases, you may just be filling in some gaps in your own home; in others, you can help someone who isn’t currently thinking about preparedness get started. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking, whether you’re filling a Christmas stocking or setting out items for each night of Hanukkah.

  1. Headlamp (and batteries) – Handy (ha!) for hands-free light when changing a tire or finding your way through the house in a power outage
  2. Tactical pen/pen light – Great force multiplier in situations where one can’t carry other weapons, as well as for the usual uses of a pen or small flashlight
  3. Pocket-sized tin of their favorite tea – I’ve made good use of the Harney & Sons’ chamomile “Tagalong” tin in my purse; you can even fit a little packet of sugar or creamer in with the sachets.
  4. Hand and foot warmers – As the family member with perpetually cold hands, I find these in my stocking every year (and my kids giggle waiting for me to get to them)
  5. Mini First Aid kit – There are even TSA-compliant travel kits that include a CPR mask and earplugs. A certain someone in my family may or may not be receiving one of these for their travels. 😉
  6. Playing cards – Keep an eye out for those with plant ID, survival tips, knot tying, or other useful info to double the usefulness of the cards.
  7. Box of ammo – Have a hunter or target shooter in the family? Find out their favorite gauge or caliber and throw a box of shells or rounds in their stocking.
  8. Jerky, granola, or other nonperishable treats – Full disclosure: these may not actually make it to the emergency kit – but hey, you tried, right?

    Stay tuned for more ideas – including themed gifts that are great ANY time of year, for everything from baby showers and birthdays to pet adoptions and housewarmings!