Win a FREE Sun Oven by Sharing Your 2013 Food Storage Goals ( Giveaway)

I just noticed that Jodi and Julie at are offering a free sun oven giveaway contest! All it seems that you have to do to be entered into the contest is to post a comment about your 2013 goals on their Facebook page by Sunday, February 3 (winner announced on Monday). I would have jumped at the opportunity but I already have a sun oven. Click here to learn the details. Good luck!!

Review of Energizer 7 LED Trailfinder Headlight

I recently purchased the Energizer 7 LED Trailfinder Headlight off a recommendation of Steven Harris of because I was in the market for a new headlamp.

After removing it from the package there was some basic assembly required, including attaching the headband and installing the batteries. One thing I noticed was that the battery compartment door was initially a bit difficult to remove but after first removal was no problem. I should point out that the battery door is secured in place with nice and secure clips but, once removed, is very precariously attached to the unit with a flimsy pieces of plastic (I guess it’s plastic) and seems to me to be something that could easily break. This is not a huge deal to me because the flimsly plastic serves no purpose other than to keep you from losing the battery compartment door but I would have preferred something a bit better.

I would also like to mention one more slight detraction, and that is the fact that the on/off (and change light mode) button is somewhat difficult to push. As a result, if you’re just trying to cycle through the light setting to turn if off then that could be an annoyance. I think I would have preferred a single on/off button and other button (or method) to switch between light settings.

I immediately started using the headlamp and found that it has four lighting modes: night vision (uses red color to keep from ruining your vision in the dark), spot light (uses three white lights), flood light (uses two different lights), and full power (uses all five lights). I’m not sure why they felt the need to include so many lighting options but I guess it lets me tailor my lighting needs a bit better and to conserve battery power. Personally, I would have preferred maybe three settings at most, but I’m really just nit-picking here.

On to more positive things…

As for function, the until can certainly light up a small room quite well and I was easily able to see what I was doing wherever I wandered while testing it. The package says the unit outputs 58 lumens but I only care if I can see what in the world I’m doing and that I was able to do.

Another good feature that I liked is the pivoting capability of the light; you can get two distinct angles when using the pivot (not including straight ahead, or no pivot at all). In fact, I found myself using the pivot feature most of the time.

I ended up wearing it for about an hour as I unpacked a few other things and eventually forget that I was even wearing it. However, once I realized I was still wearing it and later removed the headlamp I was glad to have it off my head as it is a bit bigger than other headlamps that I have used. Of course, it does include a nice foam pad that keeps the headlamp from pressing hard against my forehead, which was nice.

Another big plus is that this particular headlamp utilizes 3 AAA batteries, which means that so long as you have the capability to recharge AAA batteries then you can use it for a LONG time. The batteries used is something to pay close attention to. I have purchased headlamps in the past that utilize watch-sized batteries which makes them lighter-weight but also means you cannot recharge them. The package says it can run on a set of batteries for up to 14 hours on maximum setting. So, if you use a lower setting then that means a longer run time. In my opinion, 14 hours on max from a single set of batteries is a good deal for a headlamp.

Despite a few minor annoyances, all-in-all I would say that for the price (less than $17 shipped at the time of this post) this Energizer 7 LED Trailfinder Headlight is a good deal given light output, battery capacity, and overall capability. In fact, I should have ordered two. 🙂

HOW TO KILL WITH YOUR HANDS DVD…to survive a violent attack

I have no idea how long the link below will continue to be active, but Coach David has just told me that he is making Disc 1 of his B.E.T. system FREELY available for a limited time on YouTube. I had an opportunity to review it a few weeks ago and was getting excited about (hopefully) offering it to you for a good price in the near future, but free wasn’t exactly what I was thinking about. 😉

Anyway, I thought the content was very useful and maybe, as Coach David says, it will save a life. Here’s what he sent…

Watch now before YouTube bans it!

I believe in the non-aggression principle until someone breaks it…

Watch for a limited time.  Send to your friends before I take it down or YouTube bans it!

(HD) HOW TO KILL WITH YOUR HANDS DVD…to survive a violent attack (Disc 1 of 2)

General George S. Patton’s Guide to Prepping

george-pattonI’ve been a fan of the late General since I was a kid. For a variety of reasons he seems to exemplify the American “can do” attitude that makes me just love this country, regardless of what the elites are doing to it.

Anyway, I thought it would be a fun thought experiment to consider how and what General Patton would do if he were a prepper in this day and age. Of course, he’s a polarizing person and likely would never be a “normal” person like you and I. Rather, I like to believe he would have been a big voice in the community and probably somebody to rally behind.

Several facts about General Patton:

  • Died at age 60 in a car crash (some believe he was murdered)
  • Led troops to many battles in WWII (Rommel considered Patton to be the Nazi’s biggest threat)
  • Participated in 1912 Olympics where he placed sixth in modern pentathlon (he argued with judges that one of his shots went straight through another hole but he was rejected and ultimately denied a medal as a result)
  • Pioneered the use of tanks in battle
  • Suffered from dyslexia
  • He was an amateur poet and had more than a dozen papers published
  • Nicknamed “old blood and guts” by his troops because he was so passionate during speeches
  • Believed in reincarnation (believed he fought aside Napoleon and was a Roman Legionnaire)

Whatever you think of General Patton, he was certainly a character. I could only imagine knowing him, let alone fighting for him. And I do believe his troops choose to fight FOR him as he appeared to be such a charismatic leader.

To the heart of the post (remember it’s just for fun)… what would General George S. Patton do if he were a prepper in today’s society? Let’s assume that he wasn’t a general but perhaps did serve in the Armed Forces in some capacity. Ok?

  1. Well, first, he would have none of this OPSEC business. He would probably be the kind of guy that happily showed you his stuff and then dared you to take it!
  2. That said, he’s not stupid either. He would most likely have quite a few well stocked and hidden caches.
  3. Survival retreats? No way! He would have his “castle” and choose to defend it to the death.
  4. Of course he would have weapons… and lots of ’em. Assault weapons ban? Hah! He would likely have enough firearms to arm his own militia and be happy to do it.
  5. He would have extensive knowledge of military tactics as well and would quickly rally like-minded people to better defend themselves and probably even take it upon himself to eradicate troublemakers.
  6. Given his “take the bull by the horns” attitude he would naturally gravitate to any leadership role, be it a neighborhood watch or local militia.
  7. Patton is the kind of guy that understands the usefulness of new/modern technology. He would have made full use of not only military gear but everything else that would prove useful from a sweet solar power system to hydroponics and more.
  8. He also would have understood that since an army marches on their stomachs, people do as well. His food storage would have been massive.
  9. I’m sure he also knew how to prioritize needs and would have ensured water procurement was well taken care of too.
  10. Though he believed in reincarnation, I would image he choose to use body armor. After all, it would have enhanced his effectiveness in battle and allowed him to continue the fight.

Ultimately, I would think that General George S. Patton was the kind of guy that was either going to succeed big or die quick. Just the way he would have liked it. 😉

What do you think? Spot on or not? What did I miss?

Body Armor for Dummies


Here’s a nice article on Body Armor for Dummies that really explains what you ought to know if you’re new them, like me:

“No doubt, the vast majority of you are aware of the fact that our federal government seems intent on violating our inalienable right to self-defense, among others. It is entirely possible that we will cross the line where “from my cold, dead hands” ceases to be a metaphor. Body armor is a necessity for those who wish to initiate or survive being a party to a two-way range. The discussion following is intended to be a simple primer on body armor for those less familiar with the actual product and guide you in selecting proper armor for yourself. Generally, body armor is made from three materials: Kevlar, ceramic, and steel. The various levels of commonly available protection range from level IIA-IVA and are rated by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The NIJ standard rates armor by its ability to stop certain rounds (generally of a standard grain and ft/s) from penetrating the armor…”

Read the full article here

Egg Storage Experiment – Week 2 Results

My second week of egg storage with mineral oil is here already. Can’t say I’ll keep up with the posting of pictures but here’s where it stands:

This is the mineral oil egg, no floating (which is good) and no off smell:


And here’s the control egg, also no floating and no off smell:


Last, I choose to cook and eat the mineral oil egg:


Fortunately, it tasted good and I didn’t die (my two criteria for a good day) and even though the control egg appeared to be fine I wasn’t going to risk it. We’ll see how brave I’ll continue to be as the weeks press on. Like I mentioned in previous posts on the subject, it just seems so foreign to me to eat eggs that haven’t been refrigerated. Anyway, happy egg storing!

How to Make Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste

I’ve had bad luck with my dental health for… well, forever! Must be bad genes (no offense, mom and dad!). My kids have problems too. Even weird ones like losing teeth too early and, yes, we know our dentist and orthodontist quite well. We’ve tried an assortment of toothbrushes, natural toothpastes (including ones without fluoride), various mouthwashes, and so on. And, I would like to think our diet is descent. So, we’re going to try something I had only recently encountered: remineralizing toothpaste.

What in the world is that, you say?

Well, it turns out that it may be possible for your teeth to re-grow (actually, remineralize) and heal themselves! I don’t know if the claims are true or not but I have read some interesting anecdotal evidence online and figured why not give it a shot.

I began scouring the WWW for the “best” recipe. Actually, I was looking for something that included very basic ingredients, especially those I already had around the house, but not much luck.

Here’s what I came up with (original article here):

Calcium Carbonate Powder

I’m not entirely sure why this is important, but I would suspect it has something to do with the fact that your teeth are, in part, made up of calcium (as well as phosphorous and mineral salts… whatever those are).


AMOUNT TO USE: 5 parts

Diatomaceous Earth [Optional]

First, ensure it’s food grade. Second, apparently diatomaceous earth is not entirely necessary because the baking soda shown below should act as an abrasive, so it’s up to you whether you get some. I choose not to buy any, but diatomaceous earth has plenty of other uses, such as for food storage and even pest control.



Baking Soda

This we did have at home, and plenty of it! Apparently, it acts as an abrasive and is found in nearly all natural toothpaste recipes known to mankind.


AMOUNT TO USE: 2 parts

Xylitol Powder [Optional… sort of]

Used to keep the toothpaste from tasting bitter. They say it isn’t necessary but who wants to brush with bitter-tasting toothpaste? I sure don’t!


AMOUNT TO USE: 3 parts

Coconut Oil

Used to get desired texture. We already had some of this as well.


AMOUNT TO USE: 3-5 parts

Other Ingredients [Optional… not really]

Any number of essential oils can be used for flavor, including peppermint, cinnamon, lemon, orange, etc. Again, it may not be necessary but I prefer to have a little enjoyment while I’m brushing. 🙂


AMOUNT TO USE: several drops

The above product list includes everything that can go into this remineralizing recipe. And if you bought it all then the total bill would run around $55, and that doesn’t include shipping… yikes!

Before you go jump off a bridge, realize that these ingredients would be enough to make toothpaste for the entire family for years on end (with the possible exception of the calcium carbonate). Now, considering that we spend several dollars per tube of toothpaste for the “natural” stuff, I was willing to give this a shot, especially since we already had a few of the ingredients at home.

Preparation and Storage

  1. Simply mix the dry ingredients together (calcium carbonate, diatomaceous earth, baking soda, xylitol powder) into a clean bowl.
  2. Add the coconut oil until you get a toothpaste-like consistency.
  3. Add a few to several drops of your favorite essential oil for flavoring.
  4. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid and keep out of sunlight.

To use, dip a clean toothbrush in or, better yet, apply the toothpaste to your toothbrush using a popsicle stick, spoon, clean finger… ok, probably not your finger; you get the idea.

My Experience (and a problem)

Here’s what my mixed toothpaste looked like (click to enlarge):


I used teaspoons in place of parts for the ingredients and ended up with something that sort of resembled toothpaste when I was done:

  • 5 tsp calcium carbonate
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp xylitol powder
  • 3 tsp coconut oil (I had to melt it before use because it had solidified)
  • several drops Lemon essential oil

Before adding the essential oil I tasted it… yuck! I guess I would have used it if I had no other choice but in my opinion: ADD FLAVORING! We wound up using lemon (I would have preferred peppermint but we didn’t have any around) and briefly considered cinnamon as well, which might have been better than lemon. There is also a gritty feeling at first but that seems to vanish when actually brushing. Anyway, I can’t say the recipe is awesome but it is serviceable and will take some time to get accustomed to. By the way, teaspoons didn’t make a lot of toothpaste, so in the future I think I’ll use tablespoons.

The Problem

One thing I ran into was that the toothpaste had solidified again later that night–I assume because the coconut oil had solidified–and aside from breaking off chunks it simply was not usable. So, rather than throwing it out I took a cheese grater to it and turned it into something similar to Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste (soap) that we had used years ago. Shredding it seems to work out ok but I find it difficult to keep the shavings on my toothbrush as I seem to lose half of it into the sink. I’ve tried putting the shavings on my tongue first and like a baseball player would dip tobacco but I haven’t found a “style” that I really like yet. Will keep trying though.

How about you? Have you tried this recipe or anything similar? Any luck or disappointments?

The Probability Spectrum of Disasters

rainbowThe probability spectrum of disasters isn’t anything new but it does bear being reminded of from time to time. In fact, I did not come up with the idea on my own. I’m sure I’ve seen it elsewhere before but the first time I remember hearing of it was from Jack Spirko of and more recently in this SurvivalistBoards thread.

What is it?

It is simply the act of thinking and planning about emergency situations given the likelihood of them occurring to you. This makes perfect sense to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read on forums or other blogs posts where somebody–usually a prepping newcomer but it could be anyone–talk about a singular threat that they’re sure is going to happen and that everything they want to know is how to prepare for that one event. The threat of an EMP is a prime example.

While I understand how this can happen to someone, it’s completely illogical to think this way. For one, if you’re prepared for life in general then you will most likely be prepared for any disaster that you can deal with and two, preparing for a singular threat is probably not the disaster that’s going to happen to you… it’s just math.

Instead, the best way to prepare yourself and your family is to use the probability matrix, sphere, hierarchy, or whatever you prefer to call it. The thinking is that you should prepare yourself for personal disasters first, local disasters second, regional third, and nationwide (or even worldwide) last. At least, that’s the way I see it.

Still not convinced?

Ask yourself this: does it make more sense to prepare yourself for a job loss (a personal disaster) or pandemic (national disaster)? If you look at the likelihood of these two very distinct scenarios happening to you, I think it’s safe to assume that a job loss is more likely and, therefore, should be prepared for first. Well, that’s the idea, anyway.

Fortunately, many disasters have very common needs, such as water, food, shelter, heating, etc. Sure, some have very specific needs such as an EMP needing appropriate shielding for your gear or a pandemic maybe requiring quality face masks or sheltering in place. But, if you prepare for life in general then you should be fairly well prepared for most anything and, equally important, if you choose to focus on more likely disasters first then you’ll have given yourself the best possible chance for overcoming it.

Here’s the spectrum as I see it and some examples…

  • Personal disasters are the most likely statistically and affect nobody besides you and your family (not even the neighbors). Examples include job loss, injury (requiring serious medical attention or inability to work), home fire, robbery, chronic illness. Prepare for these possibilities first because they’re most likely.
  • Local disasters could be anything that affects your neighborhood or maybe even a city. Perhaps it’s a boil water order or maybe a tornado that wipes out a town (e.g., tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas a few years ago).
  • Regional disasters are what most people think of when we discuss disasters. These could affect a wide range of people and often result in the declaration of a Presidential Disaster Order. Examples include a hurricane (e.g., Hurricane Sandy) or the winter blizzard that affected the northeast for weeks on end several years ago. They affect a wide range of people.
  • National disasters (or worldwide) are statistically least likely to occur to YOU (in your lifetime) but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen. Examples include a pandemic (e.g., 1918 Spanish flu or the Bubonic Plague that devastated Europe in the Middle Ages) or even the possibility of an EMP from a rouge nation or perhaps the sun. These are the least likely events to occur.

I’m not saying you can’t or should not prepare for a pandemic or EMP, not at all. Just don’t choose to start there if you’re not ready for the more likely scenarios. And, like I said earlier, many of your needs will overlap. Food storage will always be useful if you can’t buy groceries for a few weeks due to a job loss or an EMP wipes out the grid and semi-trucks aren’t hauling goods for months on end.

Hope that helps you get your priorities in order!

Review of RazorPit Men’s Razor Blade Sharpener

A reader comment in my So, I’ve Been Saving My Disposable Razors Lately post pointed out that I could extend the life of the razor blades I’ve been saving using a product I hadn’t heard of before: the RazorPit. This sounded like something I NEEDED to try so I bought one immediately, even without reading reviews!

According to the Amazon product description:

  • RazorPit Saves You Money up to 90% on Razor Blades
  • RazorPit Increases Shaves per Blade from 10 Shaves to 100 Shaves
  • RazorPit features a Patented Friction Razor Sharpening and Cleaning Technology
  • RazorPit Sharpener Works on All Razors and Razors Blades
  • RazorPit is Made from Recyclable Materials and Reduces the Waste of Disposable Blades

Those are some bold claims. So, I tried it myself and what I found was encouraging. First, the RazorPit seems to be a very smooth piece of molded rubber and honestly nothing more. To use, apply shaving cream to the disposable razor head and then, with firm pressure, push the blade along the RazorPit in the opposite direction of normal use four times, rinse, dry. That’s it.

I thought, it couldn’t be THAT easy, could it?

Well, I choose to use the RazorPit on all of the disposable blades that I had been saving and then randomly selected one blade from the baggie I keep them in. I choose to wait four or five days before shaving for very good reason: it’s just long enough for a dull blade to pull whiskers quite a bit yet not long enough for a brand new razor to not work good; if I had waited a week, for example, even a brand new blade would pull a bit.

What did I find?

Well, it’s better than I honestly expected but not quite what the manufacturer claims. The “cleaned” yet dull blade worked much better than it would have if I had not used the RazorPit but wasn’t quite like it was brand new because I could tell that it pulled whiskers a bit. That said, I was still pleased with the results.

Why does it work?

Apparently, this simple cleaning action removes microscopic hairs and skin cells that cause the blades to “feel” dull. I would say that the blades still dull a bit from use and over time this cleaning won’t do much good. That said, if I can extend the use of even a single blade to double it’s normal use that’s awesome.

Am I happy with the purchase?

Considering that I spend seven or eight dollars on a set of just five Mach 3 razor blades, the RazorPit could well pay for itself in just a few months. So, yes, I’m generally happy with my purchase.