20 December 2011

Recipe - Zesty Crackers

Looking for something easy to make to keep the guests out of the kitchen while you are cooking this season. Try this version of Zesty Crackers. My dad brought me some and after I tried them, I definitely wanted his recipe. I am here to tell you, it was WELL worth the bribe.

Although I will take it, there is no need to bribe me for this crispy-treated recipe. Enjoy!

  • 1 Box Saltines
  • 1 1/2 C Canola Oil
  • 1 Package Ranch Dressing or Dip (Hidden Valley works well)
  • 2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (add more for extra spice)

  1. Take a large empty (cleaned) pickle jar and add entire box of crackers
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients in a separate dish and then pour the mix into the jar over the crackers.
  3. Replace lid.
  4. Turn jar from upright to upside down and repeat about 5 times
  5. Lay jar on its side and turn 1/4 turn every 1-2 hours for first 10 hours (I turn it every time I pass by the jar)
  6. Turn jar every 3/4 turn every 3-4 hours.

After about 24 hours they are done. Not just crispy but zesty and very tasty.

Keep in mind it is not an exact science or recipe, if you will, but it is relatively easy and my children usually do the turning for me, so all I have to do is combine ingredients.

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive!


10 December 2011


I have been reading a few good books lately but don't want to go into detail about them at this time. However, I would like to list some of the ones I have been reading and am scheduling to read.

"Schedule to read?" you might ask. Yes, sometimes I get so busy with the mundane parts of life that I forget to schedule "me" time. It is in these times that I do schedule time to read. That is not to say that I won't sneak a chapter here or there or even while I am traveling but I do have to make a point to set aside some time to read.

What I am reading at the moment is three separate books. This is a little slower than what my average used to be. There was a period of time where I would be actively reading five books at a time. No, not physically reading them at the same time. I wish I was that smart. I am saying, I would read a chapter or two from one book, then something in the next book and so on and so forth.

Most of them might be along the same subject matter which makes reading more books for me easier to do. There are times when I have to stop reading a specific book because I am intently focused on a main topic or a specific subject matter and it is just not sinking in. Regardless of how many books you are reading at the moment, I do think it is key that we continue to read until we can't read anything anymore. Pick a subject, something you enjoy, and either visit the library or purchase your book of choice. My simple rule is if it is a reference book, purchase it. Otherwise the library is your best bet. I have found some great deals on Amazon for books that I wouldn't mind keeping even though it might not fit the above rule.

Why purchase a reference type book? So I can write in the margins or highlight the actual text. I make the book mine and easier for me to use and refer back to when the occasion arises.

Anyway, this is a very short post in comparison. I want to wish you all a great week. Back to reading for me.

(Oh! The list. Right.)
  • Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles
  • One Second After by William R. Forstchen
  • Lights Out by David Crawford
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It by James Wesley, Rawles
  • Survivors by James Wesley, Rawles
  • EMP Survival by Larry and Cheryl Poole
  • Survive by Les Stroud
  • SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman
  • Will to Live by Les Stroud
  • and various Mother Earth News articles and several good blogs

One last thing before I wrap up this post. I wanted to give you a link to a few other sites that have great book listings.

James Wesley, Rawles -
Atticus Freeman -

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive!

26 November 2011

Make a List

Despite the fact that these are lines from a supposedly happy Christmas song that makes me feel like Big Brother is watching me, making a list and checking it twice is not a bad idea. As an example, if I were to make an inventory to be prepared for a catastrophic event; what would be on the list?

I am a fan of lists. I am not, however, one of these people that will make a list of my lists to check my lists against other lists, but I have friends that do something similar. It’s kind of weird I guess. My wife of 18 years was not a big fan of lists either, until recently. “Oh, the thought of sitting down to make it just to strike the item off does not seem worth it,” she would often retort every time the discussion came up. That is until she saw exactly how beneficial lists can be if done in the right way.

Let's start with why you should make a list. The reason is fairly simple: to be (more) organized. It is a proven fact that if you write something on a list it is 90 percent more likely to be accomplished than if you did not have that item posted somewhere. This is also a proven factor for most successful people throughout the world. With that being said, this makes your chances of preparing very successful.

What goes on my list? Another great question. If it is something that you are preparing for, then it should be on your list. An example is what is considered a BOB (Bug-Out Bag) or GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag. This bag is what is to be packed should you have to leave your home in a hurry for one of the events mentioned in my post Preparedness. Another item that you might make a list for is for an EDC (Every Day Carry) or GHB (Get Home Bag) that will tide you over until you can make it to your destination or home. Yet another list is the focus of the rest of this blog, which is your preparedness inventory.

A preparedness inventory is the list of items that you would need for you and your family to survive for 36-72 hours should a catastrophe happen. An example that I used in a previous post was the normal winter ice storms that we have every February. If the power goes out, would you and your family be able to survive for 36-72 hours until the power gets restored? The recent snow storm in the upper northeast was an example of how that could happen and how some were not prepared. I have friends in the Boston and New Jersey areas that did not have power for 2 weeks. They were not prepared for that length of time, but luckily with their family's help they all made it through, including the 18-month-old that thought it was fun to make a tent in grandma's living room.

Let's get into further detail by looking at some items you may actually write on the list. Now, I say "write" because it is easy to find and use paper and pen or pencil. Some folks actually use spreadsheets on a computer, while others have made applications to do this for them. Whatever works for you is what you should use.

I will use an impending power outage as my list example, and hopefully, you will be able to “fill in the blanks” with things that would help you be more prepared.

  • Glow sticks – taped to the inside of two cabinets in case we cannot get to other light sources immediately
  • Flashlight – alternate light source while lights are out
  • Batteries – to power flashlight 
  • Matches – to light candles and grill
  • Candles – alternate light source so we don't blow through the batteries
  • Blankets – warmth and put at bottom of doors as a draft protector
  • Fuel for grill – I use both charcoal and propane
  • Various Soups – we’ve gotta eat
  • Crackers – to go with the soup, of course
  • Beans – this is for when we run out of soup
  • Beef Jerky – homemade and great source of protein
  • Cards – for when we get bored and have to entertain the children

Keep in mind this is not a complete list, but I think you see where it is going. As you gather needed items they get added to the list. For instance, if I need an alternate heat source, I will add it to the list as well.

“My list is made. Now what?” The answer to that is fairly simple. If you have everything on the list then store it in an easily accessible place. Mine is in a Rubbermaid container sitting on a shelf in the garage. As seasons change, I will move the container(s) somewhere a little less or more accessible depending on the priority of what's in the box. My winter box is moved to the forefront at the moment so it is easy to retrieve as opposed to one needed during hurricane or tornado seasons.

If you don't have everything that you need or want on the list, then work towards getting the items to complete your list. Keep in mind; you might not be able to get them all at one time due to budget constraints. This is for you to decide.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what a list is for and what is to be included on the list. Maybe in a later post, I will share with you my full list or even point you to someone who does have a List of Lists.

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive!

1 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie

A special thank you to SelfReliantinfo for his help with this blog


Your last action item was:
Determine what impending event you are preparing for.

How did you do? Did you determine what it was or what they are if there is more than one? Hopefully you have determined what you are going to prep for and even got the jump on one of my future posts on "Starting to prepare".

Benjamin Franklin said it and @Preppershow tweeted it this afternoon: By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Proverbs 29:18 states it this way: "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law." (NKJV and the KJV uses the word vision in place of revelation.)

You may be saying, "what does this have to do with preparing?"

Well, in mine and several other people's mindset the answer is simple. A LOT or EVERYTHING. We have to prepare! If we decide to take the biblical aspect (no I am not preaching but merely covering all the angles to look at this), then you may retort, "God will take care of all of my needs." And you would be correct. God will and does take of all of our needs. We will have food when we need it. We will have water when we need it, etc. However, you have to buy food or prepare the ground before harvesting a crop. 

Throughout the Bible and history, man has been told to prepare.

God told Noah before the flood came. God told Moses before they entered the promised land. God told Joshua and the rest to prepare. Oh, New Testament? Jesus was in the desert preparing for His ministry. He prepared the disciples. Paul prepared before he left on any trip. Jesus is preparing His bride before his return. And again, the list goes on.

In modern history, men and women are prepared before they go to war. They are trained, as are anyone else that goes into a certain profession. Before the holidays, we prepare ourselves for whatever it is, Thanksgiving, Black Friday for some, Christmas, etc. We prepare ourselves for a new year and even do "spring cleaning" in preparation for the season. We prepare the ground for crops. So we prepare in all phases of our lives in everyday living. We are naturally preparers.

Maybe the things that we prepare for are not impending doom or life threatening, at the moment, but some may actually be. If you are a farmer, when you prepare the ground, are you prepared for a snake bite? Herdsman, are you prepared for a wolf attack? Here is a more appropriate one for this time of year, winter

I was challenged by one of Jack Spirko's recent podcasts about preparing for winter. I realized, I was not prepared! I am not ready if the power goes out and there is no heat. I am not prepared for the ice storms we get every February. I am not prepared for the rains and power outages we get in early December and mid-January. I am not prepared if we have to make a quick trip to the Emergency Room if someone burns themselves while cooking a huge feast.

Do you have enough blankets, candles, an alternate heat source, or enough fuel for emergencies? I unfortunately had to say, no. I have since started preparing for winter as well as some of the events listed below. But you may ask, "Okay. I got it. But what impending events are there? What COULD actually happen?" Glad you asked. I have compiled a small, not complete by any means, list:

•     Weather related
     o    ice storms
     o    power outages
     o    tornado
     o    hurricane
     o    tsunami
•     - EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) blast (very controversial but worth mentioning)
•     - Governmental meltdown
•     - Financial Collapse (hyperinflation, deflation)
•     - Terrorism (invasion)
•     - Martial Law
•     - War (nuclear, biological, chemical, WWIII)

And I'm sure you can add to the list.

Now, I know there are some possibilities that are just wacky and I won't go into them Even those listed above are sometimes controversial. Keep that in mind if you are preparing for them and your family starts questioning your actions.

The next step is to get your immediate family on-board or, at minimum, get them to understand why you are preparing. If you are single, is there someone you think needs to know this and can help you? Keep in mind, you should evangelize others that they should prepare as well. Joshua Robbs explains this all too well in one of his podcasts so I won't go into it.

Then start. Make a list (which will be a future blog subject). Start an inventory. Just do something to move forward toward being prepared. Will you ever be fully prepared? Probably not. Then what's the point? You want be at least halfway prepared when the need arises. In the example as I mentioned before regarding winter, I had blankets and lighting ready, but not alternate heat sources. I will move toward getting that source. This has taught me that I can always be BETTER prepared. So what's next?

Your action item for today:
Start your list and inform your family. What will you need? What will it take? Can you gather a little something at a time or will it require a huge investment? (For example, do you need a propane heater or a generator or will an extra blanket work for now?) What can be delegated to other family members?

Until then,

Use your Instincts to Survive!

A special thank you to SelfReliantinfo for his help with this blog

19 November 2011

What Are You Preparing For?

In the words of Tim "the toolman" Taylor's fence looking neighbor Wilson, "Hidy Ho, Neighbor".

I am starting a little early by putting in a blog post between the last one and my normal Saturday deadline. The reason is, I have some great information from some on-line friends (read Twitter and Facebook).

Lately I have been really studying or watching and reading a Twitter hash tag called #preppertalk. I know, some of you already know what's coming and that's okay. Some of you understand what #preppertalk is and who organized it on Twitter, but I am going to repeat it because the rest of this blog goes a little deeper than just knowing how to search it out.

First off, @SurvivorJane ( organized #preppertalk into the Twitter community and for you Tweeps out there all you have to do is search on it. HOWEVER, for those that don't understand how to do that or even what the heck I am talking about, check out Josh Robbs (@GotPrep) video at and he will walk through searching and what #preppertalk is all about. Again, this is me letting the geniuses give you the information.

So to the meat of this post and it's first main point. I was reading a blog post from Self-Reliant Info. The information pertaining to the aforementioned subject was again, genius. He listed out "15 Tips to Get the Most Out of #Preppertalk Chats on Twitter" link here: In it he lists out the proper etiquette for reading #preppertalk tweets as well as getting the most out of this resource. Now I will be the first to admit, when I started on Twitter (@isurvivalist) I lurked like an eagle just waiting for a mouse to stick it's whisker out of a hole before I would jump into a conversation and reading this post showed me that this process is okay...for a while. But eventually you have to move beyond the lurking stage and start doing your part or adding some type of input to the community.

Although you don't always have to prove yourself, you do need to be prepared to site your sources. Sometimes the question that gets asked of me when I post an answer is "where did you find that" or "how do I do that". I am usually prepared to either post a link to my source or site where it can be found. There is sometimes the answer, as the title of the blog implies, of me using my instinct. That is not always a valid answer but an answer nonetheless. I also, have asked for the source to be sited and most of the time I get it, but there are a few that I don't. It is those that I am glad I am aware of before I blast my friends with as then I become the laughing stock and lose all credibility.

Second main point is more of the ACTION ITEM for this post. What are you preparing for? Not why are you preparing but what is the IMPENDING EVENT that you are hoping to be ready for should it happen? Economic Collapse, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), natural disaster, zombie apocalypse or maybe even Global Thermonuclear War (thank you WarGames). Although we try, we cannot be prepared for all of these. So determine what you are going to work on first and then you will be able to perform the next action item that will be listed in the next post. It may be winter that you are preparing for. I know some of the posts today were on just that subject: preparing for winter.

Your action item for today:
Determine what impending event are you preparing for. If you are NOT preparing for anything, then why not? What are you waiting for? Get started now.

Until then,

Use your Instincts to Survive!

Picture from