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By Kellene Bishop

Are you ready folks? The most recent food challenge is going to seem like a cakewalk to some of you compared to this one. But it’s an important trial run in which your whole family should participate in. It’s called the Preparedness Pro Commerce Independence Challenge.

Currency photo c/o AOL

Currency photo c/o AOL

Preparedness Pro Double Dog Dares You to go an entire 14 days without participating in any spending of currency…any, nada, zip, zero, etc. We dare you to be independent of all commerce interactions for a full 14 days. That’s in a row, folks, in a row. J This means that you won’t pay any bill, go out to eat, go to a movie, buy gas or anything for a full two weeks. Being independent from commerce as you know it will truly hone your preparedness skills. Your eyes will be opened to just how reliant you are on commerce exchange, electricity, conveniences, etc. My husband and I just did a Commerce Independence Challenge at the end of last year. Yes, it was a true challenge for us. But it gave us a greater anticipation and awareness of how things may be in the event of a financial or other type of economic collapse. Awareness always brings about more preparedness, right?

Groceries c/o kentohio.net

Groceries c/o kentohio.net

Now, here’s something I’m going to urge you to do before you accept this Challenge. Go ahead and prepare for it a few days in advance in every way that you can think of. Pay the babysitter now. Stock up on some gasoline for 2 weeks now. Get two weeks worth of groceries now—don’t forget the comfort foods. I dare say that this Commerce Independence Challenge will still be an eye opener for you as you will undoubtedly have something that you haven’t thought of crop up and throw you a curve ball. When it does, just deal with it. Don’t buy the school supplies, the groceries, the shirt, the hair spray or the new shovel for 14 days. You can trade goods for goods and services, but during the Commerce Independence Challenge don’t exchange any currency for goods or services for 14 days.

I’m specifically making this challenge at this time of year. It won’t be convenient. There’s Halloween parties and costumes that you’ll need to think about ahead of time. But I’m 100% convinced that this will be a valuable experience. 

I know that some of our challenge takers on our last challenge entered into it without letting the rest of the family know. (Sly little devils) But I encourage you to let the whole family in on it. Tell your friends about it. If they look at you weird, ask them if they could even go ONE DAY without being a part of commerce. How about 3 days? Worst case scenario, if this just sounds like “too much” for you, then challenge yourself for a smaller period of time. Regardless though, do take at least a portion of the Commerce Independence Challenge. I’m quite certain that you won’t regret it.

Here's your reason to say no to your kids! Photo c/o geekgirlfriends.com

Here's your reason to say no to your kids! Photo c/o geekgirlfriends.com

Come on. Don’t wimp out on me. You’ll still have the safety and comfort of your home, electricity, the microwave, etc. It’s not like I’m challenging you to live without plumbing for two weeks. You’ll still have the television or radio or board games to keep you entertained. And besides, you’ve been meaning to get around to organizing your food storage anyway. The walking or bike riding will do you some good too, right? And wouldn’t it be great if you could put a carte blanche “no” on spending for your kids everyday desires for a whole two weeks? Perhaps it will be liberating? It’s not called the Commerce INDEPENDENCE Challenge for nothing.

The contest begins today and goes through the 15th of November. You can pick whichever 14 days you want to accept the Challenge. By all means, please give the rest of our readers a peak into what you’re doing and how you’re dealing with it. There are no losers in the Commerce Independence Challenge. I’m quite positive that anyone who participates will indeed be a winner. The point is to push all of you to learn, by firsthand experience, what you’re really ready for. And as always, any blog comment entry you make through the 15th will be eligible for our regular prize drawings that we’re holding every two weeks.

This is going to be very interesting, isn’t it?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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The Preparedness Pro Food Challenge ends today and we will be a doing the drawing this week. 

Stay tuned… you may be one of 12 winners! 

food-challenge

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Ok, here it goes. I’m going to challenge you…nah—perhaps the better word is “DARE” you. In fact, I’m going to DOUBLE DOG DARE YA to take this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge.

food-challengeWant to find out if you are really ready for an emergency? Here’s a genuine challenge for you. Your ability to implement it will say a LOT about your ability to truly survive a real emergency. The Preparedness Pro Food Challenge officially begins August 1st and goes throughout the month of August. During the month I challenge you to go an entire two weeks without going to the grocery store for any food or household supplies. 14 days. No grocery purchases, no household cleaners, no produce. Can you and your family survive? No big deal, perhaps? Yeah. Say that after you’ve done it. Then I will bow to you and call you “The Preparedness Queen/King.”

Now take this seriously. No cheating. Don’t go to a restaurant or get one of those free hot dogs at the furniture store promotion either. If you go to the farmer’s market, you’re cheating. Rely on all of your food and household needs strictly based on what you have available to you right now. Do it the entire 14 days. Don’t cut corners. Don’t rationalize. And for goodness sake, don’t starve your family for 14 days. 🙂

Obviously, a disaster is no respecter of bank account balances, professional positions, or “time of the month.” It’s a true equalizer of all mankind. So, at the end of 14 days, what kind of man or woman will you be? I bet you have no idea just how often you “pick up a little something” at the store.

This challenge is pretty straight forward. It doesn’t need to be made harder than it is. The challenge does not require you to go without electricity or any of your other luxuries in life. Just go two whole weeks without going out and buying anything you need for nutrition or household care.

Groceries photo c/o Shannon Steele

Groceries photo c/o Shannon Steele

The key to this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge is to do it without any notice or preplanning. That means that you don’t go out today and buy all of the groceries that you think you might need to last you two weeks. (Although, if I at least get you to do that much, maybe it’s a good thing. 🙂 ) Interestingly enough, I bet that even if you were to go shopping, you would still find yourself struggling. During this challenge I anticipate that you will struggle with what to cook. You will struggle with eating what you have instead of eating what you’re in the mood for. Bottom line, you will be challenged without all of the modern-day pampering we have when it comes to food.

So, can you take this challenge to heart? Can your family endure it without threatening a mutiny? Remember, I’m not challenging you to go without your other comforts of life. You can still watch television. You can still use your running water. You can still use your microwave and all of your other favored kitchen gadgets. Just abstain from the purchase of any kind of grocery or household items for two whole weeks. Prepare your meals any way you want. Ramen noodles? Frozen pizza? Using the microwave? Fine. Then again I would recommend you actually cook real food during this period as well, but I won’t hold you to that. Just don’t bring any additional supplies into your home to sustain you during this two week Preparedness Pro Food Challenge. Pick any 14 day period you want. Get your whole family on board. In fact, invite your friends and extended family to do the challenge with you as well. Come on, it will be a GREAT experiment!

As you accept and experience this challenge, write your comments on our blog. It will help all of our readers see some of the most basic areas of preparedness which they haven’t considered previously. I guarantee there will be some eye opening experiences.

Giveaway with GREAT Prizes! Photo c/o rei.com

Giveaway with GREAT Prizes! Photo c/o rei.com

At the end of August, we’re going to have a drawing for GREAT emergency preparedness giveaway items. We’re going to give away all kinds of preparedness items such as an EZ Sprouter, non-electric hand mixer, solar head lamp, and more. There’s a cluster of some of my favorite emergency preparedness items and I’m excited to give them to some lucky participants! The more times you write your comments on our blog on this topic, the more times your name will be entered in the drawing. We’ll hold the drawing on September 1st and notify all 12 winners! You may win a solar light/radio, private consultation time with me, or you may win a food storage cookbook. But more importantly, you’ll gain invaluable insight into whether or not you’re prepared in this one simple area. Obviously, if you aren’t able to last 2 weeks comfortably, you’re going to have a lot of trouble lasting a year. But what I really hope is that many of you will gain a sense of confidence and peace seeing that you can truly make it if need be. You can be creative with your cooking. You can be independent of our traditional commerce system. And you can successfully troubleshoot as the two weeks progress.

The question is, why wouldn’t you accept the challenge? There will always be excuses. And I can assure you that an emergency never waits until you are completely ready. Life will still have to go on regardless. But I assure you that none of your excuses will hold much water when you consider the invaluable experience you will gain from this. This is only a two week challenge. You get to keep everything else normal in your life. But through this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge, you’ll begin to see where the gaps may be. You’ll realize perhaps just how reliant you or your family members may be on the conveniences of our society. Your kids will learn what they are made of. You’ll all learn to think and strategize just a bit differently. If I have a vote, I say heck yeah! Take this Preparedness Pro Food Challenge! You’ll be SO glad you did!

The winners have been drawn! Click here to see if you were one of the 12 winners!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Today I happened upon an individual who, as of July 1, has commited to cook with her solar oven each sunny day for an entire year.  The Solar Oven Chef, as she calls herself, posts images of meals she’s prepared each day in her solar oven.  She has prepared everything from ribs to bread to pizza and meatloaf — excellent variety!  By the end of the Solar Oven Chef’s one year experiment, preparing meals in her solar oven will be second nature. 

solar-oven-chef-cakesolar-oven-chef-pizzasolar-oven-roasted-chicken-vegetables

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, cooking with a solar oven is a great way to prepare meals, not only in an emergency, but everyday — particularly during the summer when the kitchen is hot enough to begin with. 

solar-powered-ovenIf you follow Preparedness Pro regularly, you know I’m all about using what you store for an emergency in order to be familiar with how to use your supplies and so your family is accustomed to it.  If you intend to use a solar oven in an emergency, I’d recommend learning to prepare meals in one.  Do you have a solar oven?  Have you used it yet?  Are you familiar with adjusting your favorite recipes’ cook times in a solar oven? 

We have recently begun issuing challenges to our readers.  Here is the solar oven challenge.  Would you be willing to prepare your meals in a solar oven for two days?  You could even try the solar oven challenge this weekend.  This is an excellent exercise to practice how you may prepare your meals in an emergency and be better prepared when the time inevitably comes. 

Are you willing to step up to the plate and take the solar oven challenge? 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Candlelight

Candlelight

In the event of a long-term power outage, the obvious inconveniences will unfold such as a lack of heat or air-conditioning, television, microwave, and video games.  However, many folks dangerously underestimate their need for appropriate lighting.  You may be unaware that insufficient lighting will not only be incredibly inconvenient, but dangerous on so many levels and can also quickly lead to depression.  Indeed, the lighting that surrounds you directly affects your mood.  And believe me, while candlelight is great for a brief romantic evening, you’ll soon tire and even be annoyed by it in a long-term emergency situation.

If you’re going to spend the money on lighting preparations, be sure you take the time to test it…long term, in the dark, not just turning it on in the store and feeling like it’s sufficient.  Many folks have “candles stored by the dozens” without ever testing the lighting they have on hand to ensure it’s suitable.  As I always say, never have equipment on hand that you haven’t used and become familiar with.  Let’s explore some of your lighting options.

Lantern Reflector photo c/o coleman.com

Lantern Reflector photo c/o coleman.com

Battery operated lanterns can be quite convenient, complete with a remote control.  However, in the event of a power outage due to a large solar flare or an EMP attack, your lantern will most likely become useless.  Be sure that you have a mix of lighting options.  Don’t rely solely on one fuel, one type of candle, or just battery operated equipment for your lighting.  Each lighting solution you elect to use is preferred if you can magnify it with a bulb like you see on a lantern, or a reflector like the ones from colonial days—a silver plate behind the candle in order to project the light.  Placing candles in front of a mirror is a great way to reflect the light as well.  You can usually get by with purchasing cheaper candles if you’re able to use this method.  This is in part why we have stored many square mirror tiles, which are great to use for signaling as well.

Next, your lighting must be portable.  While some stationary lighting in your shelter is fine, be prepared to have dependable and effective lighting for travel, even if your travel is simply to the backyard “outhouse.”

Candles for lighting are affordable, but you will find they put out very little usable light.  Lanterns, whether oil or battery powered, will usually give you more light.  However, you will need several light sources to give your family the kind of light that you will need to function. 

There are several reliable solar powered lighting options.  I’ve tried and used many of the solar powered head lamps, flashlights, and such.  Try some for yourself and don’t be afraid to send them back or return them when they just don’t cut it.  You want a piece of equipment that holds its charge for several hours, not just 30 minutes.  Make sure the light puts out sufficient power in order for you to function.

Lanterns that use white gas and propane get very hot and have an intense smell.  Use extreme caution using either of these for indoor lighting.

Many candles are poorly constructed as they allow the light to tunnel into the wax as it burns down.  Thus, the more it burns, the more the light is hidden.  Be sure that your candles continue to convey their light at the top of the candle. 

Hurricane Oil Lamp photo c/o vermontlanterns.com

Hurricane Oil Lamp photo c/o vermontlanterns.com

Small oil lamps are surprisingly effective in putting out light.  Care and caution must be used when using them inside your shelter of course, and around children.  This is why my one of my preferred type of lighting is oil lamps like the ones you see in antique stores.  I really like the hurricane version which runs on oil, but are also protected with a bit of metal décor around the edges, making them sturdier.  Plus, they are attractive enough to have on display everyday in my home. 

  • In a pinch you can place some canola oil in an empty tuna fish or other like shallow can, with the lid mostly attached.  
  • Press down the lid to create a slope from the side of the can in which the lid is still connected.  
  • Pour a little bit of canola oil in the can.  
  • Tightly wad a thin wick of paper towel or newspaper, and place it in the oil, on its side running up the slope of the lid.  
  • Just a small portion of the wick should be pointed up out of the can.  
  • You can also take a jar, put some sand in the bottom and then place a small votive candle on top of the sand.  The candle inside the jar will aid in providing stronger reflection.

If you’ve invested in those otherwise useless florescent glow-sticks, you’ll soon realize that they won’t give you much operable light.  However, if you heat them in a pan on low heat for a minute or two, it will dramatically enhance their lighting power.  Of course they won’t last as long this way, but they are mostly useless otherwise.  I suppose you could also string several of them up around your shelter, but it will take a lot of them to provide sufficient lighting.

The oil that you store for your lamps actually has a very long shelf life.  You can even use cooking oil that has gone rancid in some cases.  Of course olive oil is an ideal fuel because of its medicinal and cooking uses as well as its extensive shelf life.

In closing, I want to extend a Two-Day Light Challenge.  Try living solely off of your emergency lighting for two whole days.  Go ahead and live with your other luxuries during those two days.  But for two days use JUST the lighting that you have planned on using in an emergency.  See how ready you really are.  Are you game?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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