Sunday, December 28, 2014

If you have every read the label of Dr. Bronners....

If you have every read the label of Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap, you certainly remember it. Even if it was years ago.
That's what mom and I did before she left. She had never heard of Dr. Bronner's Soap, so we spent quite some time reading the label and then about his life.

Ethical Sourcing, Fair Trade, Certified Organic and gives 30% of their profits to help others. Plus, it is just good soap with a multitude of uses.
The products are great, the man very unusual.

Read the Moral A,B,C's of Dr. Bronner 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Making Lip Balm (not Hand Cream)

Making Hand Cream Lip Balm
I am grateful you all follow me, but honestly I am not sure why. LOL. I make a lot of mistakes and I don't use/follow recipes. 

Like I mentioned, I found a recipe for making hand cream and purchased the ingredients to make some batches. I wanted to give some to my mom (and other family members). Then couldn't find the recipe I saw before. Someday I will learn to carefully bookmark something I really care about.
Anyway, so I found a similar recipe and being my silly self, I adjusted the recipe.
What I wound up with is really more of a lip balm & it is wonderful lip balm.
But, I am going to have to make another batch and this time I will follow the recipe and see if I come up with hand cream. Here is what I used:

4 oz. Natural Coco Butter
4 oz. Beeswax
2 T. Coconut oil
10 drops of Vanilla Essential Oil
(on the second batch, for the hand cream I increased the coconut oil to 4 T.)


I placed the cocoa butter and beeswax in separate small canning jars (so I could use the measurement lines) and put them in a saucepan of water, heated until the items melted. Then added the coconut oil and vanilla essential oil and mixed them all together.

Carefully poured the mixture into this nifty little tins I have from last years Advent Calendar.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

My mother the pole dancer...

My mother is a kick. She will be 76 this month and is a consummate storyteller. I won’t do this story justice I’m sure, but I just have to relate it.

Her most recent job was gathering research data on people living in the inner city. 

One of the people she needed to contact lived in an apartment above an establishment called “Sassy Kat’s”. An almost neon pink building on a corner in the “hood”.
She found the office around the back of the building and spoke to the manager who offered to give her a tour.
When they walked in off the street, there was a large portioning wall. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dimly lit room.
Round tables and chairs crowded the room. And along one wall there was a large square table, with chairs and a pole rising up in the middle.

This is the conversation that ensued...

“Oh, so you have dancers?”
“Well, yes…”
“Girls and boys?”
“No, only girls…”
“Are they all young?”“No, we actually have someone in here in her sixties…”

Well, mom just loves to tell this story, teasing that this is probably going to be her next “job”. This cracks me up and embarrasses my brothers.

She had also decided she wanted me to take pictures of her at her various hang outs. She wanted to send pictures to her brother that chronicled her job.
We spent a fun filled day, driving around the inner city in her “hood” and taking pictures.
As she primped for her picture at “Sassy Kat’s”, here is what I saw in the viewfinder of my camera.

That's right. Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. Amateur Tryouts 8-10 p.m.

If you look closely, you are able to see we added "Happy New Year" to the photo and this is the cover of her New Year's card this year.

You would think this has nothing to do with preparing, except that fact that my mother is extremely keen on situational awareness. She spent 20 years as a case worker for adults and fragile children in the hard core inner city.
I have actually been blogging for about 9 years now. I had another blog that focused on stage designs and experiential worship experiences. This is an edited post from that site. 

Doncha' wish your mother was cool like mine?

Musings: Thinking ahead and family...

Mr. Perky is of “retirement age”. I can't ever imagine him not working.
Our plan is for him to stop working at his “job” at 70 (not far off), but as we speak we are amping up our “retirement home” location. We have added a garage for him to continue to work in and we going to create a backroom classroom for both of us to be able to teach classes.

Future Classroom
There is actually more room than this

Sometimes I think there is a caretaker gene. Some people have it and others don't. Others sometimes are forced into caring for the parent(s). I know there is a variety of family dynamics that play into this.
When Mr. Perky's mom got in trouble financially, his brother chose not to have her in his household. I think we have always just known that we would be the ones to take care of our parents, another reason I adore my husband.
I spent 10 years traveling back and forth to Indiana for each emergency with my father's heart problems. Months taking care of the situations, because I knew my brother's (who live there) couldn't handle the situation.
Mr. Perky's mom lived next to us for the last five years of her life. We had a hobby room, which happens to have a full bath, bedroom and kitchen set up added to our home. I am hoping this will be a big advantage when we sell our current location.
The hobby room

While we probably won't be able to add another hobby room for my mom, she has always been in our plans. We chose to make sure we had at least 3 bedrooms in our new home. She is cute, because she does know this and teases about it all the time.
Small room, but for mom

While we plan to be able support our children and grandchildren with our preparations if things go south; I don't foresee that our children will have those types of plans for me. I am 11 years younger than Mr. Perky.

But, I have a back-up plan for that also. Still working it out, but I have some time.

This journey is far more than being prepared for the end of the world as we know it. In the end I simply trust and continue to step forward into the journey where it leads me. 

Beans, bullets and band-aids baby!

Remember this? In October Mr. Perky got me this dust cover. 

Last night, I was sitting around in my jammies and he came home with my (old) weapon with my new dust cover. I was so happy. I was sighting on the t.v. LOL.

He does a lot of his own gunsmithing, but for some reason this was harder, I think he said it was because I am left handed. So he took it to the range's gunsmith. 
Again, my dust cover has this printed on both sides: 
"...and I will strike down upon thee great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers and you will know I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon you" Ezekiel 25:17

Beans, bullets and band-aids baby! He is so sweet.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Budgeting, paying cash....

Know your needs when looking for your next property. We had a specific list of basic amenities that we considered a necessity in our new home location.
When we purchased, we were very aware that we would need to add a new roof (still has the original roof from the 70's) & we need a garage.
Mr. Perky does car repairs and has a huge amount of tools of the trade. We have multiple vehicles (very typical for a mechanic), plus he wanted to have an extended garage so he could wall off a portion for teaching classes (he teaches Utah Concealed Carry).

He did all the research and opted for a company out of North Carolina to save us about $4,000. Again we paid cash.

They made the trip up to Virginia twice. Once to pour the concrete slab and the second time to build the structure. 

Another step completed on our journey. Mr. Perky is pleased.

For more information...
I am currently adding more blogs posts to explain a little more in detail about how we got to this point in our journey. These posts are listed here under"Financial".

Romans 13: 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (NIV) Note that the previous chapter is talking about actually paying what our owe.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

4 Simple Ways I Use Coconut Nut Oil

Giant “how to'” lists leave me befuddled. You know what I am talking about "172 Ways to Start a Fire with a Paper Clip". That's just me and it's why I generally list just a few things at a time & list only ways I have actually used the said item.  One of the bigger changes I have made while learning to prepare was to convert to using coconut oil in my life. One of the first books I read was "The Coconut Oil Miracle" by Bruce Fife. Now all I use is coconut oil.

1. Cooking Oils: I use it for frying and melt it to replace oil in recipes. Besides being healthy, it also stores indefinitely which is a huge bonus in my book. 

2. Moisturizer: I keep a ramekin of coconut oil in my bedroom. Here it has actually saved me a lot of money. I now use it as my facial moisturizer and apply it to anything dry: feet, elbows...
I use just a wee bit at a time. When I say just a wee bit, this is the amount I work with.  

3. After applying it, I also run my hands through my wet hair to smooth and condition.

4. Base for essential oil salves: I find that adding essential oils to a base (oil or coconut oil) extends the smell-life. LOL.

As always remember “use one, buy two” principle of storage. I do order mine from Amazon (associates link below). The one I use is organic extra virgin coconut oil, and a large 54 Ounce size. Generally for us this amount lasts about 9 months and I have about 5 years worth of coconut oil stored. 


Share some of the ways you use coconut oil back on Facebook, maybe we will learn something new from each other.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Shhh! (read this post in a whisper)

(read this post in a whisper)
I tiptoed into the kitchen to snap a picture of Mr. Perky. I didn't want to startle him and make him bolt away. I captured him making pineapple jelly all by himself. He was so determined. Every few minutes he would peek his head out of the kitchen and ask a question.

I helped him find the pectin, the proper jars, he learned about the recent changes on preparing canning lids and the biggie: he had pulled out the pressure canner to process his jelly. Water Bath vs. Pressure Canning (40)
It was easier at that point in time to show him how to use the pressure canner as a water bath canner.

Actually I had a blast. One of the things I have thought about is teaching people how to can when we get settled in our new home. I enjoy teaching and honestly do rather well at teaching, especially children. Just one of those thoughts rambling around in my head. Maybe I could teach a parent & child class. What do you think?
The thing is Mr. Perky really likes jam, jelly and marmalade. I am not a fan. Not sure why, If anything I put honey on my toast and sorghum on my biscuits. I have store some jelly for Mr. Perky and one day just suggested he may want to try his hand at canning. 

I am very proud of him, he did a great job and the jelly turned out great!

This is the recipe he used: Certo Pineapple Jelly

Friday, December 5, 2014

Want to increase your situational awareness? A challenge...

I believe I maintain a strong situational awareness in my everyday life. This week, I experienced an even higher level of awareness when I withdrew a very large sum of cash (all in $20 bills) from my bank. Actually I had to smile when the cashier at the bank when she reverified that I wanted that amount in $20 bills. Needles to say she was a little surprised. 

As with all skills I believe it is important to practice. What I am able to share, is that for the short time I was carrying this cash, I was still doing the same things I normally do. But I waited longer to assess my location before walking about, I held my purse closer, I made sure I had access to my defense readily available.
Most people I think will assume they are at the peak of their awareness and won't give this a second thought. I want to encourage you to challenge yourself.

Are you able to pretend? Either carry something of great value with you for a day and see if your situational awareness level changes. Or print out this picture and pretend it is real and carry it with you.

(Image from Wkipedia Commons)

If you decide to accept this challenge, afterwards please post on the wall what you observed.
We will see...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Perky Prepping Gramma's Wager

I have been fascinated with what has been called Pascal's Wager. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a mathematician, writer, inventor and later in life a Christian philosopher. Without going into a tons of explanations or extrapolation of variables, the basic premise to Pascal's Wager is:

God exists God does not exist
Wager for God Gain all Status quo
Wager against God Misery Status quo

Perky Prepping Gramma's Wager
This is rather simplistic, but

Just as Blaise Pascal's wager generally won't convince someone to believe in God, I also think that PPG's wager really won't convince the average person to prepare for emergencies. As often as a blizzard warning (rioting, hurricane, just fill in the blank) occurs-people will still continue to not be ready and run to the store and clear off the shelves.
For many of us who do prepare we simply understand or have even experienced where our preparations have been useful.
In my opinion, arguing “facts” rarely convinces others to think like we do. But, sharing how what we do has impacted our life, is hard to disagree with.
Our recent purchase of our new home for cash has led to many conversations. About 10% would even ask how, the main message I was able to get out was “get out of debt”. Maybe a few will take that to heart. But, there were two people, who were curious enough to delve deeper in to the “why”. Those two people have at least started thinking about preparing for their family for the future.
You are here, you are somewhere on the journey. If just one person decides to actually take the first step on their preparedness journey today, then I will count it as a very successful day.
That is why I am here, why I continue to share my little journey.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Best Gift...

As you may know from all the holiday decorations that have cropped up, Christmas is on it's way. 
What you won't see here is a list of things to consider buying for the holidays.
I grew up with the pressure of giving gifts to EVERYONE.
Staying out of debt is our new choice. 

A few years ago we started on a different journey for the holidays. I started with the things that created stress and guilt in my world.
Christmas Cards: I really was bad about sending Christmas cards anyway, so this one was fairly easy to eliminate.  Do you still have cards you didn't send out from last year? Anyway, I only send a card to my mother & now I send a couple to the Angel Card Project. 

I actually chose to support this project, because I do remember spending years alone at Christmas. Including the year I had hotdogs for Christmas dinner, because I was working on Christmas Day in the military and nothing was open for dinner. I had missed the mess hall dinner. 

Decorating the House: Again another project that simply caused stress in my life. After my son left home, I eventually cut back drastically on decorating. What I found again was I often working up to the last minute.
This year I may put up a small tree I have: 1) Because we will be going through the attic and seeing what we are going to move & what we are getting rid of and 2) My mom is coming to visit us this year. Other than that we focus on what we really like: Putting up some outside lights and lighting a candle on Christmas Day.

Cooking: Christmas Eve we have our "Favorites Banquet". We get foods that we don't normally get through out the year, usually because of cost. I started this when my son was little & we were so broke. It's a tradition that he really wants to share with his family.  Christmas Day we order Chinese food & stay out of the kitchen. LOL.

Gifts: This has been the biggest change recently. 
For us, we give gifts to my mother (the only living parent) and our grandchildren. We request that no one gives us gifts.  

Pay Cash Only: This is the big deal here. Be intentional with your plan. Don't go into debt for the holidays. It really isn't necessary. 
Don't get caught up in the hype and guilt of buying.

Forgive Yourself: I think often people harbor a lot of guilt during the holidays. Take a day to forgive yourself.  Take day to remember things that are painful and sorrowful. Take a day and do something for yourself. 

The added benefit is now I have far less stress during the holidays. More time to focus on what I believe is more important. 
At the very least, take the time to really evaluate what is truly important in your world and work towards that. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Storing with Mylar Bags

(Photo from LDS Store website)
When I started prepping, there was so much I needed to learn. I started prepping with out even knowing "prepping" was a thing. Honestly for about 6 months in the beginning, I simply just bought and put things back based on a list I had made of items that we used daily.

Air, moisture, light, temperature & vermin are the enemies of food storage.

Self-Reliance- Home Storage Store (<--- link to LDS Store), is where I purchase my Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers (OA's). Everything there is really cost effective and shipping is FREE. But, you will be purchasing in higher volumes. Personally I like the fact that their Mylar bags are twice as thick as others I have found. The Amazon link below, is less of an outlay of money if you want to just try things out. But, note that the Amazon link bags are 3.5 mm Mylar Bags vs. 
7 mm think Mylar bags vs. on the bags from the LDS Store. 

(Photos from LDS Store website)

When it comes to cost effectiveness and ease, the LDS Store is the Best Kept Secret (<--- article on LDS Store order) for purchasing certain foods and some equipment with free shipping. 
My first attempt at storing with Mylar bags was interesting: Storing Dessert Mixes in Mylar Bags. This article has pictures.
1) Prepare your items in the Mylar bags ahead of time. 

2) Then open your oxygen absorbers & place them in the bags just before you seal them. The OA's start absorbing air as soon as they are opened. Prepare ahead of time to have a container (I use a canning jar) ready. Whatever OA's are left, simply stuff them in the jar and add a lid and ring.

3) Squish out as much air as possible, add OA's and then seal the bag. I used my Food Saver Vacuum Sealer, Mylar bags and OA's. The Food Saver will NOT take the air out of Mylar bags, but if you have one, it WILL seal the bags. You may also use an iron (don't use the steam setting) or flat iron. 

If would love it if you have additional tips to share with our community on Perky Prepping Gramma on Facebook.

Here are some recent purchases I have made and talked about in posts:


I work with Amazon Associates Program, where I earn a small percentage on items people purchase through my links. I only recommend items I have used and like & I appreciate your support.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dehydrating, Vacuum Sealing Oranges & a Tasty Treat

I often use my mandolin to slice items. It works really well. I HIGHLY recommend you use a Kevlar glove when using a mandolin, It is EXTREMELY sharp.
I have sliced off part of my finger before using the gloves. I was being very careful.

Then simply lay the slices on the trays.

Here they are in my dehydrator. I personally use the Excalibur. Many use smaller dehydrators, which work well. I just tend to do big batches & quickly graduated to a 9 tray dehydrator.

Lots of yummy oranges.

Then I use my Food Saver vacuum sealer with attachments to seal them in quart jars. Then they are stored in a cool, dark, dry location. How to: Album on vacuum sealing.

When I get around to eating the oranges, I peel off the rinds and save them. When I have a good amount of the rinds, I take some of the pith off and lay them out on parchment paper in a baking dish...

I break up some dark chocolate bars (which I also have vacuum sealed & stored in canning jars). I put them in the oven at a low temp. Probably about 250 degrees.

Once the chocolate is melted, I mix up the chocolate and the rinds.

Then I smooth the mixture out evenly...

Once the chocolate hardens, then I break it up into pieces and store. Goodness, it has been awhile since I have done this and this is making me really hungry. I haven't been able to store this sweet treat, since I eat it all up when I make it. 

If you are interested in purchasing any of the above products, I have listed them in my Amazon Associate store.
1) I try to only recommend things that I actually use and like.
2) I find things that if you order the appropriate amount these items qualify for free shipping.
3) The cost is exactly the same for you, I simply receive a small commission on items people purchase that I recommend from Amazon.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lessons Learned...

Many of you know that I support a local food pantry. It is actually a LINK of various organizations working together to serve others.
Where I go to church, is the highest-income county in the United States.
Yesterday I worked on the distribution day along with some friends. We helped about 800 families with loading their shopping carts.


What I wanted to share were some interesting things I learned, which I think also apply to preparations of food storage.

Pasta Sauce and tomatoes: There were at least 5 tables of various pastas, yet less than ½ table of pasta sauce AND tomatoes.
Mayonnaise: I have always known that mayo was a luxury item. But I was really struck that there wasn't any mayo.

Beans: In choosing beans, most walked by the baked beans and searched for black beans, red beans and chick peas.
Pumpkin: There was a can of pumpkin (and cranberries) for everyone. I was surprised that it seem to be a cultural item, which I hadn't realized before. Of all the families I helped only two chose to accept the pumpkin.

Brand names: Please don't get me wrong here. No one complained, but I watch as some mothers were delighted to find brand names. Another was overjoyed to find Goya brand beans, she remarked this was a really good brand from her country.

Mostly I was reminded that you should store what you eat. When times are tough, there is comfort in things that you know.

We will be helping out again in December.
But, more importantly I will be giving in January. That is when most food banks are depleted.