January Events

Join me at Agartha Books & Wellbeing

What Aromatherapy Can Do For You – January 11, 2019 6:30 – 8 pm in Safety Harbor. Reserve your seat:

Join me at Rollin’ Oats in Tampa

Learn how to make a skin nourishing lotion and how to use essential oils safely and effectively in your own home. January 15, 2019 at 6:30 – sign-up below:

Join me at Rollin’ Oats in St. Pete

Learn how to make a skin nourishing lotion and how to use essential oils safely and effectively in your own home. January 29, 2019 at 6:30 – sign-up

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Post Disaster Pregnancy, Are You Prepared?

Post Disaster Pregnancy, Are You Prepared?

Disasters bring insecurity and fear. Being close to a loved one is one way to lessen the anxiety of a situation out of your control. The need to be close to your loved one can result in post disaster pregnancies. The norm becomes skewed and nature takes over.

Post Disaster Pregnancy, Are You Prepared?

There have been disasters such as hurricanes, power outages, winter storms, and terrorist attacks that may have resulted in what have become known as the “Fertility Effect of Catastrophe”.  These types of occurrences include situations such as the New York City blackout in 1965, Hurricane Andrew 1992, 911 in 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy 2012.  There have been multiple devastating tornadoes including one in El Reno, OK in 2013 which was 2.6 miles wide. It was the largest ever recorded. Recent flooding, December 2015 in Missouri, show how quickly things can get out of control jeopardizing lives that only hours before were peaceful. Reports of spikes in births approximately nine months after many of these disasters have been reported. This is difficult to prove or disprove with certainty since many people relocate out of the area of disaster and in some cases others move into the area to help rebuild the destruction caused by the occurrence. This movement in and out makes factual statistics difficult to calculate. The thing that is not in question is human nature.  Disaster encourages people to seek comfort from loved ones during trying times.

Why Would a Post Disaster Cause an Increase in Pregnancies?

As a society, we have become very dependent on entertainment delivered via television, computers, smart phones and social media. Without power, many people lack ways to fill free time. Boredom sets in and people turn to each other for comfort. Add this need of security with a power outage with darkness and candles and nature often takes over.

The type of disasters from the recent past were recoverable situations, even though they required several years. The areas not affected by these disasters continued living in much the same way as they had with exceptions of potential loss of loved ones from the situations. If a disaster were to happen encompassing the entire nation such as a societal collapse, things could be much different.

How Can You Prepare Yourself For the Unthinkable?

Birth Control

The birth control you may currently use will run out at some point. Take some time to consider alternate ways to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Getting birth control prescriptions, patches or shots refilled may not be an option. Condoms will breakdown over time and may not last longer than two – three years. If you are using an internal device find out how long it can safely stay in your body? Have a conversation with your doctor to see what alternatives may be available.

Even though it is not one of the most effective forms of birth control, you may want to learn how to use natural family planning known as the “Rhythm method”.

Post Disaster Prenatal Care

Our society has come a long way over the years making pregnancy a time of joy for most people. The fear of death during pregnancy is not generally a fear. The day of birth is a day of celebration with few people having complications that cannot be handled by trained medical staff. What happens if trained medical staff is unavailable?  Joseph Alton, M.D. and his wife Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. have written two books: “The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for When Help is Not on the Way” and “The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook: Keep your Loved Ones Healthy in Every Disaster, from Wildfires to a Complete Societal Collapse” that have some great information on many issues that might be encountered in a collapse situation including pregnancy.

Post Disaster Pregnancy, Are You Prepared?Unless you have medical professionals in your family or group, you will be left on your own regarding prenatal care. There are some sources of help you might want to investigate and have on hand. The well known book, “What to Expect When Your are Expecting” is a great book. There is a great deal of information tucked in this article about various ways to help prepare for prenatal care: Pregnancy and Prenatal Care Articles. I truly hope there never comes a time when a pregnant mom-to-be would have to go it alone without professional help during such a wonderful time of life.

If you have members of your family that are of child bearing age or will be in the next several years, you might want to acquire pregnancy test kits, Pre-Natal Vitamins and a Delivery Kit, Umbilical Cord Scissors and Umbilical Cord Clamp.

In the absence of a doctor or midwife during a societal collapse, there is an article that may be helpful to print and keep on hand, “How to Deliver a Baby”, (NOT recommended unless there are NO trained medical personnel available).  You might want to check with your doctor to see if he can recommend any alternative training programs for birthing and how to cut and clamp the umbilical cord. Make sure to take a class such as those offered by Lamaze. This article, ”The Lamaze Method of Childbirth” will give you some very useful information. Many years ago I used this method with all three of my children’s births and highly recommend it. It gives the prospective mom and dad knowledge of what is going on during the birthing process and takes away fear. The breathing methods learned also help diminish pain. This would be a double benefit since pain medication would not be available.  I have even used the breathing methods with other forms of pain throughout my life and find they work very well. There is a series of FREE video childbirth classes that are very informative. Take a little time and view them, it will be worth your while.

During a period of collapse, having every capable body available to re-establish living conditions will be important. A pregnant family member will not be able to offer as much as she might if not pregnant. Once society is able to regain itself to some livable degree, the addition of new little people to carry on would be a great blessing.

Take a little time to make sure you are prepared for the unthinkable. A societal collapse, such as an unforeseen environmental disaster or an attack on our homeland will not come with a warning. No one can prepare for everything. There have been enough disasters in the recent past to make it a worthwhile project to formulate a plan and get some supplies on hand to help minimize what would be a chaotic time.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section and help others. Subscribe to receive a weekly article from Blue Jean Mama. Thanks for stopping by.

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References:

How to Make Soap on the Homestead

How to Make Soap on the Homestead

Lavender and Tea Tree Soap

Making soap is a labor of love. I have been making soap from scratch, called cold process soap making, for a few years now. Learning how to make soap on the homestead can be fun and rewarding. You can adapt the soap to what your family enjoys and/or what their bodies need.

Even though the soap is made from scratch, today, most people still use purchased lye (Sodium hydroxide) rather than making the lye themselves. Lye is EXTREMELY caustic and must be handled with the most extreme care. This is no laughing matter, it can do your body great harm, but, there are no worries as long as you follow safety precautions.

How to Make Soap on the Homestead

How to Get Started Making Soap

There are some tools you will need to acquire that will be dedicated to your soap making activities. You will want to purchase the following:

  • How to Make Soap on the HomesteadA large stainless steel pot. I was very lucky and found a great one at the Goodwill store. You can see it in the pictures. I was so happy to find it. This pot has proven to be the ideal size for the soap I make.
  • You will also need a large heat proof spatula
  • Several measuring cups
  • Small ramekin type dishes
  • A small strainer
  • Emersion blender (Nice, but not absolutely necessary, you can just keep mixing by hand but the blender speeds things up.)
  • Soap molds suitable for cold process soap or a soap wood loaf pan for six pounds of soap. (You can also use a five pound loaf pan and an additional soap mold of your choice.)
  • scale
  • A few everyday table dinner knives (not sharp)
  • Goggles
  • Long armed rubber gloves
  • A face mask

Don’t get scared off, it’s really not bad, but you do want to be safe. As with many things, the first time you attempt something new, it can be a little daunting but believe me, it is worth the effort.

Ingredients

There are many places you can purchase your ingredients on the Internet. I have been purchasing mine from Brambleberry.com. I do not have an affiliation with this company. I have found them to be very helpful if a question arises and they are extremely knowledgeable.

  • How to Make Soap on the Homestead3 cups of water – spring or, what I use is, water from by Berkey Water Filter
  • 17 ounces lye
  • 32 ounces of coconut oil
  • 32 ounces of Crisco shortening
  • 32 ounces Olive oil
  • 2 cups bottled lemon juice
  • ¼ cup powered goat’s milk
  • 2 ounces stearic acid
  • 1 ounce Lavender essential oil
  • 1 ounce Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
  • 2 ounces Vitamin E oil
  • 1 ounce Sweet Almond oil or Jojoba oil
  • Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle – just in case you get any lye on your skin. You can spray the area with the alcohol to minimize the burn.

Directions

It is imperative that you premeasure ALL your ingredients. You do not want your soap trying to “set-up” before you are ready.

Make sure to clear your “soap making room” of any and all children and animals while preparing your soap.

Wearing your gloves, goggles, and face mask put the three cups of water in your pot.
Slowly add the lye to the water; make sure you add the lye TO the water; stirring until complexly dissolved. You may see steam coming out of your pot. This shows just how hot the lye makes the water.  How to Make Soap on the Homestead
Next, add the Crisco being careful not to splash it. Stir this with your long handled spatula until it is completely melted.  How to Make Soap on the Homestead
Continue adding the ingredients in the order listed under ingredients.
When you reach the powered goat’s milk, put the powdered milk in a small strainer to prevent lumps from forming.  How to Make Soap on the Homestead
Keep stirring after each ingredient is added until fully incorporated.
Next, you will use your emersion blender to mix all the components until it starts to look like pudding. It will form a trail when the blender is turned off and the emersion blender is lifted out of the soap batter. Make sure the blender is turned off so you do not have flying lye soap going everywhere.  How to Make Soap on the Homestead
At this point you will want to move quickly. You do not want your soap to get too far into the soap making process from trace. I was taking pictures to show you all the steps and my soap got to trace a bit faster than I wanted it to, sorry about that. I only had so many hands to try to explain and to complete the process at the same time.
Pour or ladle your soap into your soap molds. Once you have them poured, let them set for a few hours. You do not need to cover this soap as other cold process recipes require. You can then move them to an area where they will be undisturbed for 24 hours. Once the 24 hours have passed, remove your soap from the molds to an area where you can let them cure for four to six weeks. Every day or so, turn the soap over so it can dry evenly.  How to Make Soap on the Homestead

That’s All You’ll Have To Do!

At the end of the curing time, you will have a great family soap. Cold process soap needs to breath. Do not wrap it in plastic. Allow it to dry out between uses and do not let it sit in a pool of water. The soap is very gentle and makes you feel very clean. It washes off your skin nicely. I think this may become a soap you will appreciate having in your home. It makes a large batch, about six pounds, so you will not have to make it very often. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this article and will subscribe to Blue Jean Mama. If you have any questions or comments please share. Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to seeing you again.

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5 Common and Costly Mistakes Preppers Make

5 Common and Costly Mistakes Preppers Make

How You Can Avoid the 5 Common and Costly Mistakes

The preparedness community is made up of extreme optimists that want to live a self-sufficient life now and in the uncertain future. There is a desire to have provisions to live even when confronted with some bleak scenarios. There are five common and costly mistakes preppers make that are frequently made in an effort to gather needed supplies.  I personally learned the hard way in the beginning of my preparedness journey. Heck, for that matter, learning and mistakes are always happening. The comfort I take in my blunders are the lessons learned in times before our lives depend on having the knowledge. Learn and make your mistakes now and move on.

5 Common and Costly Mistakes Preppers Make

Flour/Grain Storage

The ability to provide the “staff of life”, bread, you must have the ability to grow and harvest your grains or purchase the grains. Many people will go out and buy5 Common and Costly Mistakes Preppers Make flour in large 25 or 50 pound bags. It is economical but only if you use it up within a relatively short period of time. You could repackage the flour into smaller containers and use oxygen absorbers, but this too, will only keep the flour fresh for a limited time, usually about a year under ideal storage conditions. If you want to have grain for extended periods of time you should consider buying grains (called wheat berries) that are factory vacuum sealed in number 10 cans. These cans of grain will have an extended shelf life of up to 15 years in proper storage conditions. You will need to purchase a grain mill to grind the wheat berries into flour. For preparedness safety, you will be more secure if you have more than one way to grind your wheat. You can get an awesome Whisper Grain Mill and a manual grain mill. I have both of these and want to add an additional mill to my kitchen tools for safety sake. Whatever you can purchase now will provide some security since there is a possibility that commonly attainable items may not be available in the future.

Using a Vacuum Food Product

5 Common and Costly Mistakes Preppers MakeI must say, I love my FoodSaver and have used it a great deal. It is wonderful for packaging meat and other products you want to freeze. It makes your food last longer in the freezer and helps keep foods from getting freezer burned as quickly as they would without it. I have used it to seal mason jars with success and with some failures. From my experience, I have found that after a bit of time, which seems to vary, the seal on the jar can become unsealed. This is a major problem and can cost you a great deal of your food, your effort in putting the food up for storage and money. You can use the machine for short periods of time but don’t bank on it for long term.

I was also having trouble sealing the small lids on mason jars. I called the company and they said they are working on the problem and recommended that I put a lid on the normal way and an additional lid on top of it facing the opposite direction before sealing. It seems this will allow the machine to form a seal. Don’t do what I did and think the jar accessory is the problem and buy another attachment. I now have two of the small jar lid accessories and still have to use the trick the company told me about.

Saving Seeds

Learn the proper way to save seeds. I tried using seeds I had opened from the prior year and found many of them did not germinate. Use fresh seeds each year and also have a safety net of properly stored seeds for your “seed vault”. I have purchased seeds to have on hand for a worse-case scenario. I must say, gardening has been a challenge in Central Florida. Having grown up in Vermont, we had MANY gardens and never had any real problems growing an abundance of food in a very short season of the North Country. Since moving to Florida, we have seen more than our share of garden failures. I still do not feel confident in growing a garden that will sustain our family. It is for this reason that I also store freeze dried foods that are factory vacuum sealed to have as back-up and general food supplies. If you want to learn how to save seeds from year to year, there are groups you can join to help you learn the right way to accomplish this. This is an area I feel very inadequate in and will be learning more. If any of you are garden gurus please leave some pointers for other readers, it will be most appreciated.

Get Your Health in Check

If things do get to a point where the health system we all depend on becomes limited, many people will be in a very bad situation. Make sure you and your family have your immunizations and various health care needs addressed now. I understand some people are very wary of immunizations and I admit I am very skeptical of much the governmental agencies profess in this regard.

I would like to share a personal experience with you in hopes it may keep some people from going through a lifetime of health concerns. I am a polio survivor. I was in the last group of people to contract polio during the same year the Salk vaccine came out. I was only 18-months-old, so I don’t have any memory of not having the effects polio caused. I think this is a good thing because I didn’t know a different way of living. The post effects of the virus caused my left leg to atrophy significantly. Yes, I look different and walk with a limp but I do everything other people do. I met a great guy and we have three incredible adult children and five grandchildren I adore. It hasn’t slowed me down, in fact I think it made me more determined and resilient. It isn’t a condition I would want others to have to go through. With the wonders of preventative medicines, no one should have to go through such an experience.  This is but one example of how medicine has made life better for so many people.

There are some who believe vaccinations cause autism. I have wondered if this was true myself. I feel the possibilities of becoming autistic from being vaccinated is slim if anything.  You can check out an article, “No MMR Autism Link…” by Autism Speaks Organization. Please do your research.  I am not gung ho on shots, in fact, I have a history of passing out with them. I have taken the shot to prevent pneumonia, but, I personally don’t get the yearly flu vaccine. Make your own choices keeping in mind your decisions can affect other people. If you contract a preventable disease because you chose not to get immunized, you can no longer contribute to your family’s well-being and you may jeopardize the life of others with your decision.

Another thing you may want to take care of is any dental work you need done. A toothache is nothing to laugh off. You will be in severe pain and you could poison your system. If you haven’t been taking care of your oral health, this is the time to do it.

Don’t forget to take your animals into consideration, too. Make sure their immunizations are up-to-date. If things were to get bad, there could be animals and people who could come into contact with rabid animals. This would be a death sentence. Get your animals their preventative care and stock up on flea products. Fleas can also carry disease. Fleas can spread cat-scratch fever, typhus, and plague. Prevention is the answer to keeping your family and pets healthy.

Think of this time of relative stability to be your training period where you can recover from mistakes. A period of time to get your supplies, and family’s health in order to better face potential problems. If our country faces the unthinkable, you will have a better chance of surviving a bit easier. By preparing, you will have more optimism and a sense of calm knowing your family will be provided for. You can have confidence when avoiding mistakes preppers make.

Make sure to keep up-to-date with all the news from Blue Jean Mama. Subscribe today!

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References:

How to Keep Your Cool in a Disaster

How to Keep Your Cool in a Disaster

At the onset of an emergency, will you panic or will you know how to keep your cool in ANY disaster? Think about this for a minute. Do a mental fire drill or disaster scenario in your home setting. Scary thought, but doing a preparedness exercise could save your life.

How to Keep Your Cool in a Disaster

I had a reader suggest I do a post (thank you, Naomi) on how to handle a disaster. “Have you ever written about or thought of writing about how to stay calm during a Hurricane or other extremely bad weather?  I’m the nervous one in the family (I worry about everything), my husband is usually calmer except when there is very bad weather and we have to stay in the house for more than one day.  He won’t use Essential Oils so I had to find another way.  I close all the blinds, light a lot of candles, turn on every flashlight we have and turn on my small boom box.  It is operated by plugging in or 4 “D” batteries (I make sure to keep them in stock at all times).  We have a lot of “calming” music, comedians doing their “shtick”, Star Wars, Star Trek tapes and CD’s. 

It started with Sandy and continued with bad snow storms and now with Joaquin. I also make hot tea, (before all this starts) put it in a closed zcontainer on the counter.  Even though it is room temperature it stills calms him down. 

When I hear there is going to be bad weather, we both charge our cell phones but only turn on one of them until the phone “dies” then we turn on the other one.  Also, we keep charcoal and lighter fluid in stock year round.  Once the storms are over and the sun is out I take whatever is in the freezer that is still good but cannot be re-frozen.  I get out my crock pot, the barbecue and every cooking pot I have and cook up all the food and then refreeze it.”  

Naomi has some great ideas on keeping her family as calm as possible during some scary times.

I believe the ticket to being calm during any type of scary situation is to be prepared BEFORE any situation arises. There is no way possible to know what might happen, especially in the world we live in today. No one expected 911 to take place. The recent situation with the downed Russian airliner was certainly not on any sane person’s mind. So just what is a good way to get prepared?

What types of emergencies could your geographical location generate?

  • Ice storms
  • Flooding
  • Tornados
  • Hurricanes
  • Earthquakes
  • Wild fires

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WIEU5QU?tag=bljemall-20Each type of emergency will require special planning. In some situations, there cannot be any or much prior warning.   It would be wise to do all, humanly possible, preparations before disaster strikes. For situations where you will not be able to stay in your home, have a bug-out-bag (B.O.B.) prepared for each individual and animal in your household. Have an arranged meeting place in the event a disaster strikes while family members are separated so everyone knows where to go.

Make sure your bag includes:

  • Emergency contact information
  • Medications and copies of prescriptions
  • Emergency food and water
  • Toilet paper and moist wipes
  • Soap
  • Essential oils
  • Identification and pictures of family members for each person’s bag in case you get separated
  • Insurance information
  • Cash – ATM’s may be down
  • Special need items for babies, sick, or other special requirements
  • Change of clothes and extra underwear
  • A special toy and book to comfort a child and/or a chew toy for a dog
  • Pack your animals shot records too and make sure they are chipped and have identification tags. Many animals were lost during Katrina and the lucky ones that were rescued often were never reunited with their families. Do not leave your animals behind in cages or tied up. They cannot get out of the way if water or fire enters the home.
  • Prearrange for your animals to go to special pet shelters if you do have to evacuate

Pack as much as possible, but, keep in mind not to bring anything that you can do without. Carrying extra weight will only add to your stress.

To further address Naomi’s question about hurricane preparedness, remember to have supplies in your home well before any hurricane is even predicted. We live in Florida were hurricanes are always a consideration. Before I realized how important it is to be prepared for many different scenarios, we did prepare annually for the possibility of hurricanes. This state has seen the devastation they can bring. Anyone who has witnessed the news just before a hurricane, has the mental picture of hordes of people rushing out to get water, milk, food, diapers, batteries, generators, tarps and other such items. Unfortunately, many people find empty shelves and become totally dependent on various rescue services in the aftermath of a disaster. Although the emergency responders do the best they can, you cannot depend on anyone rescuing you. In mass disasters first responders can only be in so many places.

If you do an annual preparation for a disaster such as a hurricane, you will eliminate a great deal of stress when the threat of a disaster presents itself. You won’t How to Keep Your Cool in a Disasterbe in the swarm of people trying to snatch up life sustaining supplies. Make sure you own a crank/battery/electric operated weather radio. This will keep you up to date on how the storm is progressing. Listen to what the weather experts say. If you are in harm’s way, don’t try to be a hero and guard your property. Your life and the life of your family is more important than “stuff”.  Remember what happened in Katrina. Lives were needlessly lost because people did not heed the warnings.

In any disaster, people who embrace the preparedness lifestyle will have a better opportunity of surviving. Knowing you have preparations for the likely and unlikely disaster scenario gives a sense of relief. I believe this is one of the most important reasons many people participate in preparedness in the first place. The story of the ant and the grasshopper always comes into my mind. I can rest better knowing we have done everything we can to protect and provide for our family.

Often, the non-preparedness community will say they do not have the funds to buy extra food, water, and supplies. I understand money can be tight. If it is tight now, what would you do to purchase necessary supplies if some unthinkable disaster were to present itself? If you can spend money on soda, alcohol, candy and other non-nutritional fake foods, you can afford to have some preparedness supplies. You might consider occasionally giving up a social outing to purchase supplies. Each time you go shopping, pick up an item that you can put away just in case something unexpected happens. If you do this each time you go to the market, you will be surprised at how much you can acquire without noticing it in your wallet.

Preparedness is the key to coming to grips with unexpected and frightening situations. For me, it makes my everyday living less stressful. I know we have done and continue to do incremental additions to our preparedness supplies and lifestyle. As you progress along the way, you can expand your preparedness to include security measures, entertainment, learn new skills for the many areas necessary to sustain a comfortable life even if all the current merchants and electrical devises became nonexistent. Knowledge is power and may be the most valuable tool in any preparedness arsenal. For me, the one thing that stands out in being prepared for as many frightening situations is the peace that it brings. The thought of having supplies and the added skills known and recently acquired decreases my stress level in a monumental way. You too, can attain a much calmer and stress free life by doing your part to prepare.

If you would like more in-depth information on many areas of preparedness, visit Blue Jean Mama’s website. Subscribe to receive a weekly article to keep you more informed on your journey in self sufficient living.

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