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Homeschooling The Well Prepared Child: November 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our First Jelly- Red Jalapeno

We are not very big jelly eaters. Maybe every once in a while we will eat it, but not enough to get all crazy about canning jelly. We ended up with a whole lot of jalapeno peppers from our garden and our amazingly awesome neighbor, Bree, brought over more. I didn't know what to do with all of these peppers, we are not big pepper eaters either! Good grief, so many peppers, so little eating going on! My sister and brother in law are huge spicy food lovers. In the past, I have bought Jalapeno Jelly for them from a friend of mine. So, why not make something jalapeno for them? 
     My first idea was actually more like a jalapeno syrup you pour over a cream cheese bar and eat on crackers. For the life of me, I couldn't find a recipe for it, and no one I talked to in my canning groups really even knew what I was talking about... But I know I have eaten it somewhere before. After about a week of asking and researching, I finally gave up. Jalapeno Jelly it is! 
     I found a recipe on Taste Of Home that I thought looked pretty easy. Zoey and I got to work! I sliced up all the jalapenos (with gloves on) but we could not get our hand crank chopped to dice them up in small pieces. We went ahead and boiled them sliced. Zoey added all the ingredients, including some red food coloring. She did not think it looked very yummy in it's normal light yellowish color. I poured the extremely hot liquid into the jars. We did not strain the jalapenos from the liquid, like the recipe calls for. We strained the jalapeno slices into 2 of our jelly jars and then added the jelly liquid over them. After all of our jars were filled, we water bathed them for 5 minutes.
     The jelly set perfectly, except for the 2 we left the jalapeno slices in. They were more syrupy. Yea! Maybe we figured out how to make the yummy syrup to pour over cream cheese? We ended up with 8 jelly jars. (I don't even know what size they are. They were given to us from a friend on Facebook.) There was a tiny bit left over that would not fit into the jars. We poured it into a small bowl and placed in the refrigerator. After it had set, we tried a little on toast with butter. I was really surprised; it was good! Not too spicy, but sweet with a kick to it on the end! 

     I gave my sister her jar, they have yet to open it. They are saving it for a special occasion to eat over cream cheese. I'm a bit disappointed. I really wanted them to try it and tell me how it was. I thought at least with Thanksgiving in full swing, they would have eaten it sometime or another... Nope. 
    On Thanksgiving with my in-laws, Zoey decided to pull out all of our food stuffs we have been preserving and show EVERYONE! She wanted to open a jar of the jalapeno jelly for everyone but I didn't really want a jar open that would sit in our fridge and spoil. When she showed my father in law the jelly, he asked to try it. HE LOVED IT! He snuck the remainder of the jar into his jacket pocket to take home. Zoey was so proud and beamed her radiant smile. Feels pretty good to finally have someone like our jelly. He might be getting some more for Christmas (his suggestion!) 

Hot Pepper Jelly from Taste Of Home

1/2 cups white vinegar
1 medium sweet red pepper cut into wedges (we used neighbors mixed peppers)
2/3 cup of chopped habanero peppers (we used regular)
6 cups of sugar, divided
2 pouches (3 ounces each) of liquid fruit pectin
1 teaspoon of red food coloring (optional, try green too)

1. Place vinegar and peppers in a blender; cover and puree. Add 2 cups of sugar; blend well. Pour into saucepan. Stir in remaining sugar; bring to a boil. 
2. Strain Mixture and return to pan. Stir in pectin and food coloring if desired. Return to a rolling boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
3. Remove from heat; skim off foam. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half pint jars, leaving 1/4 in headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner. 
4. Serve with cream cheese on crackers

Yield: 5 half Pints

Editor's Note: When cutting hot peppers, disposable gloves are recommended. Avoid touching your face. The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Add 1 minute to the processing time for each additional 1,000 feet of additional altitude. 

Now this recipe is taken verbatim from Taste Of Home. I have tried this recipe and had great results. If you have a problem with this recipe or any recipe from them, please contact them directly. They are serious about wearing gloves and not touching any part of your body when handling any hot peppers. Peppers contain oils that are hard to get off of skin and will burn you like wild fire! Use extreme caution! If you happen to get some on yourself, soak the affected body part in milk. Raw milk is best, but my milk in the fridge helped as well.   

Also, I am in no way affiliated with Taste Of Home. I am just passing on a recipe we happen to enjoy. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pumpkins, Knives, and Becoming Independent


     By the time I was 10, I was cooking and preparing all the meals for my whole family on a daily basis. On my own. Both of my parents worked full time jobs and I always felt cooking and cleaning was my way of helping out the family. That is how I learned to use a knife. The way I held the knife and cut things always scared my parents to death. They always thought it looked like I was going to cut myself. I slice things, cutting straight towards my hand. Always have, always will. Yes, I have sliced myself on occasion, but nothing terribly bad. I've never had stitches unless they were surgery related on something normal. You couldn't tell me my method was ever anything dangerous, because I've never felt any danger or severely hurt myself. I have learned to have great control over the knife, even if it was pointed straight towards my body. 
     Now you ask why I am telling you this... cause my daughter is 10. She has not been made to cook entire meals on her own, we do them together. I am over protective as a mother and at the same time, I try teach her to do everything on her own. Using a knife, I realized lately, is not one of those skills I have let her practice much on her own. I have always hovered over her, tell her what to do, what not to do. 'Don't hold it like that', 'Never cut straight towards your body.' Everything my parents have told me or told me not to do over the years, (and I ignored) has come out of my mouth. I need to let go of the control and just let her learn on her own. But, GOODNESS, it is scary! 
     Why wouldn't she do things like me? I am her model. Everything she knows, she has learned by watching me. We do not spend a lot of time apart. My little shadow, my mini me. I love this. I need to break this. Sometimes, I feel like she is not as independent as she should be. She does not venture out much on her own, preferring to have me close. I am very independent. My mini me, not so much. I need to break this by allowing and encouraging her to go out and do more on her own with out mommy hovering over her every step when she is completing what I feel is a dangerous task. 
     So when she asked if she could cut a pumpkin we harvested yesterday to get the seeds out, I said yes. I sat back and took photos while she cut the top off of the pumpkin and TRIED not to tell her to 'do it like this' and 'don't do it like that.' She has watched me her whole life. She knows what she is doing, but GOODNESS, it is scary! My daughter has my technique... 


      I'll just pray she develops my control. At this point, I think I need to issue an apology to my parents for freaking them out all those years, and a thank you to them for allowing me to learn to become independent. Love you guys! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Make Some Cookies With That Girl!

     When my son was an infant, many, many moons ago, a good friend of mine came over while I was baking cookies. She was amazed that I was making cookies with out a mix. I was amazed she had never made cookies unless they came out of a tube or a 'just add water' bag. I have thought of this many times over the years. How sad it was to me that she had never made homemade cookies before. Fast forward to many many moons later and I realized, I have never made homemade cookies with my own daughter! 
     How could that happen? Mrs. 'I'm all about the homemade, from scratch' has never made cookies from scratch with her own daughter? Seriously? We make cookies a lot, but they always come from a tube. Crazy, right? Well, in our last house, sometimes the cookies didn't always turn out the best. Then, the oven went out. In this house... okay, I have no excuses. I honestly didn't even realize we had never made cookies from scratch before. Not until Zoey and I were at the store buying ingredients for the cookies we wanted to make. She kept saying, "But Mom, we need to get dough!" I was not really understanding what she was saying until she said, "For the cookies, duh..." Oh. Ummm.... Whoops! Time to have a homemade cookie talk and make some cookies with that girl!
     So what kind of cookies did we want to make? Chocolate chip, pecan, coconut cookies! Our very favorite neighbor, Bree, gave us some pecans from her yard and Zoey shelled them last week. Then I saw a recipe for 'Cowboy Cookies' and we thought they sounded great. We forgot to get oatmeal at the store, so me made the old tried and true chocolate chip cookies and added pecans and coconut to them. 
     I didn't take any photos while we were making cookies. I wanted this to be a Mommy and Me moment. No camera, no staging, just me and her making cookies. Like it is supposed to be. Cookie pictures came after. 

Here is the recipe:

Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Cookies
(We could not come up with anything better!)

1 cup of butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of chopped pecans

     Preheat oven to 350. Mix together butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs together. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix together until dough forms. Add in chocolate chips, coconut and pecans until mixed well. Drop small spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes. (We like slightly gooey cookies so we only do the 10 minutes.)  Allow to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen. Enjoy!

     If you have never baked with your family, why not try some today. Cooking with your kids is a great way to spend family time. They learn fractions, a bit of chemistry, and it is a great bonding experience. Not to mention, you will have lots of yummy cookies!

Remember, if you have a nut allergy, leave the pecans out! Please use common sense when trying anything you find on here or the web! Also, if you eat the dough raw, you will put yourself in the position to possibly get salmonella from raw eggs. So don't eat the dough!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Little Business Woman


     Every year, I set up a booth at our local Fall Festival Arts and Crafts show to sell my homemade children's clothing. For the first 2 years, My children nickled and dimed me so much, that in the end, there was not much of a profit for momma. So I devised a pan. My son would be my road crew and help with packing up the trailer, unloading and set up. In exchange, he would get a percentage of sales. Zoey would help with that as well, but she would also make her own stuff to sell. Both children learned to budget their money, knowing that was all they were going to get. They also decided getting all the small trinkets and useless carnival stuff was not a very good investment of the money they were making. But they still wanted to enjoy the carnival! 
     Usually, my daughter sells doll bedding and bottle cap jewelry she makes, but she wanted something a little different this year. For months, she brainstormed ideas on what she could make and what would make her the most money. One day she was in my fabric closet and asked, "Mom, can I make pillows for children?" I told her that was fine by me as long as she choose fabrics that were scraps or what I did not use regularly. 
     She measured out and cut her own pattern to use. After the first test pillow, she decided it was too small. Back to the cutting mat she went to make a larger pattern. When she was satisfied with the size she had, she choose fabrics she thought children would enjoy. She did not want to make the pillows the same on both sides, so she mixed and matched the fabrics. She spent a lot of time making sure she cut out her pillow pieces evenly and perfectly. She ironed and pinned the fabrics with out any guidance or help from me at all. I am very proud of the way she just got in there and did her own thing. 

     My mother had my aunt's sewing machine. (She has recently passed.) Zoey asked her grandmother if she could borrow it to use. (She has her own, but mine needs servicing and I have been using hers. She did not want to share a machine.) My mom was happy to loan it to her. My daughter gathered all of the materials she needed and set up in our living room. After her first pillow, she exclaimed, "Aunt Sissy would be so proud of me!" 
     This is actually the first time she has used a machine that did not have a speed control on it. It did not take her long to figure out how to control her foot pressure to get to the speed she was comfortable with. She worked long and hard to get them all sewn together. Finally, she was ready to stuff her pillows. I didn't any pictures of the stuffing process. At first, she was stuffing them too tight and it was making the pillows lumpy. Zoey pulled all the stuffing out and started over. Soon she was ready for me to help her close the openings. I pinned them shut and started out the first few stitches, then she carefully and slowly sewed them shut. In the end, she had completed 12 pillows to sell at the arts and crafts festival. 
      She planned on selling them for $5 each. She sat with her pen and paper and figured out if she sold them all, she would have $60. It was finally Fall Festival Day! She set up her own table near my booth. Stood behind it and waited... 
     She sold 2 pillows within just 30 minutes of setting up her little selling table. She helped her first customer choose the perfect pillows for her grandchildren. She was so excited to make her first sale! 
      However, she did not sell anymore that day. She had stopped standing by her table, she ran around with her friends that stopped at our booth, or she sat over in the corner and complained she was tired. 
     That night, she was sad. "But Momma, I only sold 2 pillows..." So we had a little talk. I explained to her about selling things. You can not just let your product sit there and expect people to want to buy it. They will just pass by your booth and look and say, "Oh, how nice." but they will not buy anything. You need to say hello to them, engage them, ask if they would like to buy a pillow. Tell them you made the pillows all by yourself. For my shy daughter, this is a little easier said than done. She was not sure if she could just talk to strangers. 
     The next day started slow. She would say hello but she would also look away embarrassed. When people turned to see how said hello to them, they wold not see anyone and just walk on by. I encouraged her to look at the people and catch their eye. TALK TO THEM! Not to the ground! It was not until I reminded her, if you do not sell any more pillows, you will not be able to go to the carnival tonight. A whole new child emerged. She said hello, asked if they wanted to buy a pillow, and then explained how she had made them all by herself. Some times people said no, but they would still stop to look at her pillows. But sometimes, people would stop and buy a pillow or 2. They more they stopped, and the more they bought, the more confident Zoey became. Within a few hours, she had sold all of her pillows but one!      

      She was becoming a bit discouraged she would sell her last pillow. Even having her cute little cousins around was not helping. Suddenly, my daughter had an idea. She took the pillow and called to me, "I'll be back in a minute!" I was in the middle of a sale with my own customer, and before I could ask her where she was going, she had disappeared into the building where there were more arts and crafts booths set up. She was gone for 30 minutes. I started to worry before she came skipping back, $5 in her hand. 
"What did you do?" I asked.
"I sold my last pillow!"
"How? To Who?"
   She began telling me about walking around inside of the building, looking for someone with a little girl. She saw a lady with a little girl and walked up to her, asking if she wanted to buy a pillow. The lady looked at it while Zoey explained she had made it herself. In the end, the lady bought it from her, telling her what a great job she did. Zoey beamed with pride as she told me the story. Then she said, "And momma, you should have seen the pillows she made! She made an elephant pillow and it was sooooo cute!" 
Wait, what?
"You sold a pillow to someone that was selling pillows?" I asked.
"Yes!" and she continued to tell me the story. 
"Wait, what?" I asked again. She sighed and slowly began again. 
"I was walking around inside, looking for a mommy with a little girl, when I saw a lady with a booth kinda like yours. She was selling kids clothes and the cutest little animal shaped pillows. So I walked up to her and asked if she would like to buy a pillow. She looked at me kind of funny until I told her I made it myself. She took the pillow from me, looked at it, and told me I did a good job. Then, she gave me $5 for it."
     I was stunned. My shy daughter just actually sold a pillow to another vendor selling pillows. When we told her dad the story he laughed. "She could sell ice to an Eskimo! Way to go, baby!" 
    My daughter became quite the little business woman this Fall Festival. Unfortunately, all her profits went to the carnival. Next year, I am going to have her use a bit of her savings to buy her materials, keep records of what she is spending and profits made. With the proceeds, she will budget out money to replace what she spent from her savings, add more to savings, and then use the rest to spend at the carnival. After all, that is why she works hard. It's all about that carnival money! (And it is not coming out of my pocket!)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Days Like These

     My day started out at 7:30 a.m.. Might not seem early to you, but considering I am a night owl, it is the perfect early time to get up for me. I drank 2 cups of coffee, checked my emails, and surfed the web before getting my daughter up at 8. She was not ready for breakfast yet, so we headed outside to feed the animals. She fed the chickens and rabbit; I fed the dogs and pig. It is supposed to get very cold this week. Since we were already outside, we decided to clean out the chicken coop and give them fresh hay. We also gave the rabbit some fresh bedding.
     Moving to the garden, we picked all we could pick off of our tomato plants. They were not as big as we would have liked, but they are still something! Since we had a horrible luck growing tomatoes in our garden this year, we planted a couple of plants my awesome neighbor, Bree, gave us late last summer. Her grandmother found several volunteer plants grow on the side of her house. Hoping for a mild fall season, we decided to go ahead and plant them. We planted them in the front yard where I really really wanted to grow the garden this last spring. The ground was raised with mulch and allowed to break down for several years. Our fall season was nearly over before it started. Good thing I also planted some of the tomato plants in pots. We pulled in the 2 potted tomato plants, along with the avocado tree, apple mint, green onions and the spinach pot. 
     About the time we were finishing bringing in the plants, Hubby drove up from work. His job is from 3:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and a today we would get to spend the rest of the day with him. We all had sandwiches together for brunch, then we watched a YouTube video on mountain properties for sale. After, we all went back out into the yard to do our various tasks. We helped Hubby a bit with making the new pen for our pig, Porky.     
     When we asked what would better help him get ready for the cold snap, he said we could bring in the wood. My daughter and I drove the little tahoe around our property. She got her first behind the wheel driving lesson. She is a natural. We decided we had not gathered enough wood off of our property, so we drove around the county road. Yes, I was behind the wheel this time. We found lots of good wood. Some of it was already cut wood that the tree trimmers that work for the electric company had trimmed and cut a little while back. Some of it was just old tree limbs that had fallen onto the side of the road. We filled the whole back of the truck! When we returned home, we unloaded our finds into the garage, but left the stuff that needed to be cut outside of the garage so Hubby could cut it with the chainsaw. 
     My daughter and I decided it we were too cold to work outside anymore. We came in, cleaned up and got our jammies on! We were also starting to get a bit hungry again and decided the potato soup we tried at the homeschool co-op we attend sounded fabulous! We messaged the lady that made it and asked for her recipe. Even though we did not have all of the ingredients, it did not stop us from making it. Potatoes were peeled and put on to boil. Onions sauteed on the stove as we headed upstairs. We had orders to sew!
     One of my big sellers on my Etsy shop are Barbie/Monster high doll bedding. My daughter created them one night when she decided she wanted to make doll bedding for her best friend for Christmas. We had two orders to get out. She got out the fabrics while I got everything set up for sewing. It took us a couple of hours to cut all of the pillows, iron, pin, sew, unpin, turn, stuff, re-pin, sew, and then iron and de-fuzz all of the tiny pillows and blankets. Especially when we were constantly running up and down the stairs checking on our soup! When we finished the doll bedding, we got our coats on and walked down to the mailbox to mail our packages out. 

     Finally, we sat down to try our first attempt at making homemade potato soup! There is nothing better than a homemade soup, let me tell you! We substituted milk and sour cream for the canned evaporated milk, and let it simmer down a little longer to let it thicken up. It was fantastic and we nearly ate the whole pot between our lunch and again at dinner! 
     Our awesome neighbor, Bree, came over again to bless us. She brought the kiddo a small bag of black walnuts to learn about and harvest. Bree visited a bit and then left to return to her house. My daughter and I snuggled into my bed for some homeschool. While she worked in her math book, I read to her from a book called Windows To Our World. It is a journal story from Sarah Brown of Dyslexia Games. I am not sure how much my daughter completed in her math work book. We were captivated by this book. Sarah as a child reminds me of the little girl laying next to me, all cozy and warm and giggling. As some of you know, my daughter is dyslexic and has other learning related disabilities. We do not let her use this as an excuse or a way out of learning. Like little Sarah in the book, we allow her a lot of time for her own self driven learning. I hope this book furthers her new found love of learning through self driven research and exploration. May she also live a life full of love and blessings from our Lord. 
     Hubby is in from the cold and nearly ready to eat dinner. Since hubby is not a fan of potato soup, I made him taco salad from the taco meat I store in the freezer. Having some pre-made meat for meals comes in handy. Especially on days like today where all the kiddo and I want to eat is the yummy potato soup we made for lunch. (This is when we nearly finished off the big pot of soup we made.) It also helps to keep our food bill down by making a bigger batch of meat from a family size package of hamburger caught on sale here and there. On Thursdays, when I work too late to cook the hubby dinner on time, he can pull out a meal starter to make a quick meal. It is important to me to home cook meals for my family, so having pre-made meals in the freezer helps to make me feel like I have still cooked for him. 
     After dinner, we watched a little t.v. and some DIY videos on how to make an indoor growing station for the plants we brought in. We discussed what improvements and additions we wanted to try on our mini farm. My daughter and I played some board games while Hubby and I talked. At 6:30 p.m., it was time for him to head upstairs for bed. This is the worst thing about his job, but I can't complain when we get him from 9:30 a.m. till 6:30 p.m. all to ourselves. The kiddo and I cleaned up our board game mess after Hubby kissed us both goodnight. It was time to check out the black walnuts we were gifted!
     My daughter broke open the first walnut with a hammer and found it to be soft and a bit fleshy feeling. It did not take us long to realize, research was definitely needed. We found videos on YouTube, and watched a great one. Too late, we discovered she should have worn gloves. She looked down at her hands and discovered they were slightly stained. We had no gloves, so she decided to go ahead and finish getting the fleshy parts of the one walnut, and search for gloves in the morning to finish the rest with. (Unfortunately, we found no gloves and both of us stained our hands. Fun stuff though!) 
     After cleaning up from the walnut mess, she hopped in the shower, and then snuggled up on the couch and finished her writing assignment from her homeschool co-op class. I have never seen her this excited to write before this class. Occasionally, she asks me how to spell a word. I sit at the computer and work on my own writing assignments, sprinkled in with a bit of Facebook. I post the picture of our homemade potato soup on my blog's Facebook fan page and message my sister back on Thanksgiving arrangements. My daughter comes in to read me her story out loud. We watch a few funny cat videos until it is time for her to clean her room before bed. She reads her library book for 20 minutes and then turns on the music she listens to while she sleeps. This is my cue to come to her room for prayers, good night giggles and sleepy kisses. We also make plans for the next days lessons, activities and 'to do' lists. 
     Later, while listening to the soft music coming from her room, I check my emails for the night. The co-op's blogging group emailed an assignment of writing about what we are thankful for. I reflect for a moment on the usual 'go to' thoughts on blessings and being thankful, but my mind keeps drifting to the days events. We worked hard, we learned lots, we laughed often and we loved much. I decided this is what I am most thankful for..... days like these. 

DISCLAIMER- This post is not a paid affiliate post by Sarah Brown, Dyslexia Games, or the book Windows to Our World, however, my Amazon link to the book IS a paid affiliate link. I was not asked to do a review of this book, but in this day of my life, we enjoyed reading it. Loving this book is my own honest opinion and I am just passing on a 'window to MY OWN world.' The Etsy link is to my own store, and if you choose to buy from us, that would be a blessing but in no way effects how I feel about my readers. Thank you for sharing this day with us! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Daughter's G.O.O.D. Bag


     What is a G.O.O.D. bag? Well, before I realized that being a 'Prepper' was a real thing, and before I had ever heard of a Bug Out Bag, I had a 'Get Out Of Dodge' bag. Then, my son and I had GOOD bags. Now my daughter has joined us. The hubby has one but it is not fully packed. He claims he can pack faster than all 3 of us put together. Sigh... still working on him. Might have to make him up a secret one!
      So while my son has a camo back pack we got from the Army/Navy Surplus Store, his sister and I are still sporting her old school backpacks. Hot pink love and a sky blue peace and love backpacks might not be the most top of the line militant/prepper gear, but, they suit us just fine. After all, I am a frugal/freecycling type of gal. Hubby and I have been discussing buying her a new back pack for Christmas, but it is still yet to be determined.
     Every 6 months, my daughter and I go through our GOOD bags and check to make sure our gear is in good working order, everything is organized, clothes are of the correct season, food is still in date, and everything we have added throughout the 6 months is in the right spot. Last check was in July, so checking in November is a bit early. Glad I did though. Her bag was a crazy, horrible MESS! Both of our bags were. It seems a little goblin has gotten into both of our packs and a lot of stuff is missing or switched around. It was hard to tell which back pack belonged to who. So irritating, but it gave us a chance to really go through the bags and talk about what was in each bag and why. We also reviewed medicines in her bag, evaluated her food as a 3 day supply and created a shopping list of things to pick up.
     Not everyone's BOB/Good bags look the same, neither will your child's. An emergency bag contents are determined by what you are packing them for. Generally, you pack what is needed to get from point A to point B as easily as possible. Think of your basic needs and go from there. A good article to read on creating a Bug Out Bag is over at Survival Cache. Being for a child, I have opted out from adding a lot of the 'normal' suggestions for safety and weight issues. Read all you can on BOB/GOOD bags and then decide what should go in yours. There is no perfect emergency bags, just bags you designed to be perfect for you. 

So what is in my 10 year old's back pack? Let's review!

Even though we are now entering cooler weather, her clothing will not change. We had decided to keep her jeans and an Under Armour type shirt in her bag last July. Those shirts help to maintain your body temp and keep sweat away from your body. She also has 2 bandannas and a toboggan. What she is missing is an extra pair of warm socks. My daughter informed me that she had no socks and I needed to add that to our shopping list. (Where did all of her socks go?) In the summer, we also pack her water shoes and an extra bathing suit.

Generally, people pack a 72 hour supply. That can get very heavy when you are trying to get all the food groups in and that really is not feasible. She has some Clif Bars (tm) that are super nutritious, but on the kid enjoyment side, not so much. Nuts, fruit and grain cereal bars, crackers and canned meats also go into her food baggy, along with honey and candy. You can get honey packs FOR FREE from some fast food restaurants. Honey is medicinal and very healthy. Lasts forever, gives you energy, tastes great, sweetens things, you need some honey in your bag! After we changed out her Easter candy for some Halloween candy, I had her put her food into 3 groups. Each one represented each day of the 72 hours. We discussed portion control and snacking for energy. We also reviewed the food groups and discussed the food in her pack did not consist of a well balanced diet. She came to the conclusion she was lacking fruits and vegetables. Luckily, we have been studying foraging in our area, so at least she has a bit of knowledge of what she can eat in the wild. We reviewed what she knew for certain that she could easily identify and eat. 

     We are not skilled hunters, so canned meats is an important addition to her pack. She likes Kipper Snacks, sardines, and Vienna Sausages. I made sure all of these had pop tops so she would not have to worry about carrying a can opener as well. Also, everything she has packed is ready to eat. She will not have to cook or prepare anything. She only has 1 bottle of water in her pack, for weight safety only. She knows how to filter water through a sock or other piece of cloth. A filtering straw is on Santa's List of stocking stuffers.

Motel samples of shampoo, conditioner and lotion are in another baggy. She insists on carrying a full size bar of soap, but also says she can use it for washing clothes. I'll let her have it. She has tissues, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and chap stick. Medications are loose in another baggy. Not every child can be responsible enough to carry their own medicines, but I am confident in her ability.  I quiz her regularly on which pills are which, uses and her dosage. She used to have a bag with an extra hair brush and rubber bands, but they seem to have disappeared. Her bag of band aids, neosporin, and hydrocortizone has also disappeared and has been added to the shopping list.

Every child's bag needs a bit of entertainment. She has chosen a book and Uno cards to carry with her. Missing is her little activity pad and most of her mini colored pencils. Colored pencils are a good addition for a bag instead of markers or crayons. They do not melt or dry out. The pencil shavings can be used for tinder and a sharpener can also be used on twigs to make kindling. More Santa's List stuff to replace missing items!

Goodness, my kid loves gadgets and gizmos! A lot of the stuff, I am not even sure she needs, but she knows what to do with it, so it stays. Some of the best are a paracord key chain with a compass (yes, she knows how to use it, but also knows the directions with out it), recycled pill bottles stuffed with dryer lint as a fire starter, and her multi-tool thingymabob. She wants a 'real' knife to go into her bag, but I am still debating on that. (See my Pumpkins, Knives, and Becoming More Independent post and you will see why) She has her own lighter and pill bottles stuffed with dryer lint. We are working on perfecting her fire making skills. 

YES! That is a solar garden light! She will attach it to her backpack for when she is walking so it can charge by day. At night, she will have her own little personal light. It is not super illuminating, but it does give you enough light for personal space. We brought in ours from the front yard when our electricity went off a couple of months ago and it kept us from tripping when we moved around the house. We also tested reading by it. The little light you see is a battery operated 'tea' light. It also provided enough light to read by. In the Gadgets and Gizmos photo is her military flash light she got from a field trip to a army ammo depot. We keep the batteries separate and make sure we switch them out and test them often. My daughter asked for a candle to to carry, but she is a bit klutzy. Hot wax and flames... Ummm... NO!

Some sort of shelter is generally included in most emergency bags. Now that I think about it, she used to have a towel and a large garbage bag in her back pack, but they are no where in sight. We have a small, lightweight tent that me or the hubby will grab and carry. The towel can dry her off, be a pillow, or a blanket. She has a bed roll type sleeping bag that can be slung over her shoulder or attached to her backpack. Also missing is a weapon. I think flight would be better than fight. We are working on self defense skills, but I have seen her in action enough to know she is not easily bullied. (Those stories are for another post!) 

I'm not sure how much her bag weighs, can you believe I do not have a scale at my house?  I will be taking it to work with me to weigh her and the back pack together. We will go over it and remove items that weigh more than they are worth after we find out. We are planning a hiking trip for next week around a local lake. We will carry our back packs and test out the functionality of the items inside, see if they need to be adjusted for weight, and it will also serve as practice in cause we need to Get Out Of Dodge. 
Our GOOD Bags are stored in her room behind her bedroom door. It is part of our evacuation procedures that she will grab these bags and either put them into the truck, or by the front door. Just depends on what we will be Bugging Out from. 
     We are back to being organized in our GOOD bags and we will pick up needed items in the next few weeks. Now, most of you die hard BOB carrying preppers will say, "Get you a proper backpack!" However, after reading an article on The Prepper Journal webpage, Is Your Bug Out Bag Going To Get You Killed?, I am inclined to say that our bags will be less conspicuous than my son's camo bag. If we are hiding in the woods, yes, we might as well paint a bulls eye on our back! I think we can fix this by draping or covering them with a jacket or trash bag.

What's in your child's BOB/GOOD Bag? I would love to hear what other great ideas you have!