By: Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom |
It’s so easy for the hot, lazy days of summer to just sort of run into each other in a haze of heat and laziness. Then the day arrives when it’s time once again to get the kids ready for school, and we ask, where did the summer go?
If your prepping goals have taken a break right along with your pledge to have the kids do daily math drills and read for at least 30 minutes every day, then here are a few prepping activities and tips to avoid the summertime prepping slump.
1. Get the kids involved in prepping activities
If they’re sitting around the house doing nothing, then they can help you prep! Children can fill canning jars, mylar bags, and buckets with dry goods and oxygen absorbers. They can help weed the garden and pick ripe fruits and vegetables. They can wash and prepare produce for canning and dehydration. Kids can go through their closets and drawers and pull out toys they no longer play with and clothing that no longer fits.
Hey, every time they say they’re bored, give them a prepping related task, like the ones on this list! They’ll have something productive to do and you’ll accomplish your prepping goals more quickly.
2. Learn something as a family
Check out online calendars for craft stores, REI, Cabela’s, gyms, and your city’s summertime offerings. Many of these are survival and/or prepping related, such as learning how to read a compass, learning how to crochet or sew, etc. and very often these classes are free.
If these resources aren’t readily available to you, then check out a how-to book or watch some how-to YouTube videos on something your family would like to learn and do it yourselves!
[TIP: Browse through my Skill of the Month page for dozens of ideas that will appeal to all members of your family!]
Or, ask around and see if there is someone in your circle of friends and acquaintances who has a skill you would like to learn and is a willing teacher.
3. Turn a family outing or vacation into survival training!
Camping, hiking, fishing — those are all survival related, fun, and everyone can be involved. Check out these articles with more information about enjoying the great outdoors, as a prepper:
And then there’s my series on family road trips. As a veteran of some 16,000 highway miles, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in this area!
4. Check into summer day camps related to prepping
Two summers ago my kids learned rifle skills in a 2-day camp at a local gun range. Lots of towns and cities start the summer with directories of these day camps. If your kids are in a day camp or have gone away to camp, learning some sort of practical skill, then you’ll have time to either take a nap, read a relaxing book (just for fun!), or do anything else you like! Free time for mom is necessary!
5. Amass produce in quantities and begin canning and dehydrating
Summer is prime produce time. Even if your garden was a flop or you didn’t get certain items planted, there are probably local gardeners and farmers who would love to share their bounty. Some might even be willing to trade a portion of their harvest for a portion of yours.
Bountiful Baskets is a large produce co-op that operates in many states. Do an internet search for “produce co-ops” in your area and you may end up finding a source of delicious, fresh product that you can then preserve for later.
Here are a few resources I’ve accumulated here to help you with canning different foods;
- Bing Cherries
- Can your own meat and chicken
- Canning basics and getting started with applesauce
- Chicken breast
- Canning home preserved peach jam
- Green beans
- Homemade strawberry jam
- Canning weird stuff, beyond jams and salsa
Once you have a good amount of green beans or tomatoes or whatever, make a simple plan for canning, dehydrating, and/or pickling. If your kids are whining about being bored, then you know who your helpers will be!
6. Get away from the electronics!
Nothing zaps energy faster than sitting in front of a TV or computer screen hour after hour. Not only is time wasted but our minds and bodies become accustomed to inaction and it becomes even hard to get up and start doing something!
Allow yourself and the kids only a certain number of minutes per day in front of a screen.
7. Take a few minutes to make lists to organize your prepping activities
A lot of time we find ourselves in a slump because we’re unfocused and are not sure what to do next. I’ve found that when I have all my scattered goals written down, it helps immensely.
Three lists that have helped me stay organized and focused on my preps are To Learn, To Do, and To Buy. From my book, Survival Mom:
List #1: To Learn
On this list you’ll keep track of skills and knowledge you realize will be important. A few examples on my own list are: Learn to tie various knots and know when to use them; work on creating recipes from my food-storage ingredients; and push my knitting skills to a higher level and knit a pair of socks.
Interestingly, many items on this list won’t cost a dime. If your budget is already strained, and buying even a few extra cans of tuna is a stretch, put more time and energy into learning skills, gaining knowledge, and seeking out other Survival Moms as resources.
List #2: To Do
Here’s another list that doesn’t have to empty out your bank account. Have you been meaning to compile all your important documents or inventory a garage filled with tools? Do you need to prepare your garden for the spring season?
There are simply dozens of things we intend to do, but they flicker in and out of our minds and are then . . . gone! As you read this book, start adding tasks to a To Do list and keep track of what you accomplish. It’s very empowering to see progress, although you will likely never have an empty To Do list!
List #3: To Buy
Although Lists 1 and 2 will keep you busy, there’s really no way around List 3. Stocking up on food, extra toiletries, good quality tools, and other supplies requires money. However, the good news is that a master To Buy list will help set priorities, keep you on budget, and even provide a shopping list when hitting the garage sale circuit.
Without a To Buy list, you may very well find yourself (a) spending money on things you later discover tucked away in a back cupboard or (b) snatching up purchases in a panic. This list helps save money as well as time.
8. Assess whether or not the emotions that started your prepper journey have changed
If we begin a project or set a goal based mostly on emotion, when that emotion fades, and it will, very often our motivation fades as well. If you began preparing out of fear or panic, it’s likely that you’re not as motivated as you once were.
That’s all perfectly normal. However, if the logical part of your brain is convinced that prepping is important to the well-being of your family. You’ve just entered a new level of motivation based on rational conclusions. This is where lists come in handy: To Do, To Learn, To Buy. They’ll help you stay focused on what is most important regardless of the current state of your emotions.
9. Start making plans and goals for when the kids are back in school
Summers are wonderful but let’s face it. When the kids return to school, so do routines. Having a predictable schedule once again will help you set priorities, focus on achieving small prepping goals, continue with prepping activities, and become the Super Survival Mom of your dreams!