Fire Roasted Vegetables for Food Storage

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend4At last week’s Monday Musings, I mentioned I was catching up on product reviews.  Therefore, in lieu of the scheduled posts, this week is Review Week!

I had the opportunity to test out the new Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetables.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg BlendLong time readers know we’ve tested a few Mountain House entrees, and brought them on camping and backpacking trips.

I was a little iffy about how fire roasted vegetables would turn out, as this is one of my favorite foods and some restaurants don’t even cook them properly.  But I gave it shot so here’s the result.

Here is what the vegetables look as you open the packet.  It contains freeze dried fire roasted bell peppers, onions with corn and black beans.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend2

As usual, I followed the instructions to take out the oxygen absorber then just add 1.5 cups boiling water.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend3Then mix up the contents to make sure the water has covered the vegetables.  Then seal up the bag and wait.  The directions said leave it alone 7-8 minutes.

I checked it after the 8 minutes were up and the vegetables were ready the the black beans were still a bit tough.  So I left it for another 7 minutes for a total of 15.  By now the black beans were perfect.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend5I tasted the vegetables and they were excellent.  They had a sweet, fresh taste and a firm, not mushy consistency.  The pouch contains 2.5 servings.  I had it plain for lunch and it was satisfying.

I think it’s actually better than some of the frozen fire roasted vegetable blends I’ve tried from the supermarket.  They would be great for camping, backpacking and long term food storage.  I highly recommend Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetables.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Off Grid Tip: How to Tell How Much Daylight is Left

How to Tell How Much Daylight is LeftThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I mentioned a while back that we “unplugged” from devices at our recent camping trip:  no GPS, no cell phones or laptops.  The kids felt strange at first, but eventually got used to it.

Apt Prepper son used this trick he learned watching Les Stroud, Survivorman – to find out how much time is left until the sky goes completely dark.  It was around 7 pm or so at the time, and he estimated around two hours and 15 minutes of daylight left.  He estimated it would be dark around 9:15 pm.  I had a solar watch and I checked the time to see if he was accurate.  I thought that seemed really late but I waited to see if it would really work.

After the sun finally went down and it was pitch black, I checked the time:  9:15.  The method was amazingly accurate.

Here’s how:

Hold your arm and stick  your hand out.  Place your hand between the sun and the horizon.  Each finger represents 15 minutes, and four fingers will equal one hour.   If you can stack your hands twice then that is two hours and so on.  In our case, at around 7 pm, Apt Prepper son was able to stack his hands twice plus one finger between the sun and the horizon, thereby coming up with 9:15 pm.

This method can be a lifesaver if you are out in the wilderness without a way to tell time.  You can gauge how much daylight you have left so you can return back to base camp in a timely manner.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Monday Musings: 7/14/2014

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps.  Lots of things going on this week!

First the updates:

Wanted:  a natural mosquito repellant that works

This week we are being extra careful about applying insect repellant as we heard the Chikungunya virus has come to HoustonI told you about this weeks ago, and now it’s here.  This mosquito borne virus has no vaccine and can be quite miserable if you catch it.  I have spray on repellants containing DEET which are effective, but I’d prefer to use more natural repellants.  This week I will be trying some out.  I’ll post about it soon.

Giveaways going on

You can still enter to win a free Mega One meal replacement for Food Storage made by Legacy from Preparewise

As a requirement in the entry, please remember to follow @LegacyPremium and have them tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #ilovepreparewise

Also, the Prepared Bloggers are holding a Titan Ready Water Giveaway starting today.

So many reviews so little time

My review pile is growing steadily, and they are scheduled several weeks in advance.  Being short on space, a corner next to my bed is stacked high with books and items waiting to be read and tested.  As you know I try out everything to talk about on this blog and these experiments take time.  Some reviews include giveaways, but some don’t.  I figure they would still be helpful to someone who is considering purchasing the item and looking for information before making a decision.  You may see a few additional review posts in the next few weeks, hopefully you will find them of value.

Prepared Bloggers Network Update

As you know I am a member of the Prepared Bloggers Network, a fine group of preparedness and homesteading bloggers.  Please visit the Facebook page, we also have a new page on Pinterest.

Now for the links…

New Adventure Show with Creek Stewart

I got an email announcing a new series featuring friend of the blog, Creek Stewart, who runs Willow Haven Outdoor.  The new show is called “Fat Guys in the Woods” and it premieres on Sunday, August 10 at 10:00 p.m. ET following “So You Think You’d Survive?” at 9:00 p.m. ET.

In every episode of “Fat Guys in the Woods,” Creek brings three average Joes to the woods to survive for a week, while teaching them the skills necessary for survival.

The premiere episode features three friends from California, with Creek’s guidance, who embark on a bitter cold survival adventure in the Smoky Mountains during record-breaking low temperatures…the same week where three hikers were airlifted from the same region after battling for their lives. After making a massive wikiup shelter and starting a fire with flint they find in the woods, the guys need to survive the freezing weather conditions and find food armed with little beyond their own two hands.

Click here for a link to the promo spot for the show.

Fat Guys in the Woods

“Fat Guys in the Woods”: Survival Expert Creek Stewart

Photo Credit: The Weather Channel

I have not seen the show, so I can’t do a review just yet, but I look forward to seeing it.

Ebola in Africa: Can we dodge a global pandemic?

Forgotten vials of smallpox found in storage room

Deadliest, Rarest Form of Plague Contracted Near Denver

One Of The NSA’s Original Whistleblowers Says The Goal Is ‘Total Population Control’

Breakfast takes a bigger bite out of your wallet

10 habits you should pick up from your grandmother

Small Batch Fruit Preserving

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

Save a Spot in Your Food Storage Shelf! MEGA ONE SHAKE MIX Review and Giveaway

MegaOneMealReplacementShake

I’ve been considering meal replacement and protein products as a supplement to my food storage and even contacted a few companies about information about their products in terms of long term storage.  I did not get a single response.  That’s why I as excited to hear when Preparewise introduced their  Mega One Meal Replacement Shake from Legacy Premium, which offers 10+ years of shelf life.

I had to try it. Here are MegaOne Chocolate Shake Features –

  • Total Servings: 15 Hearty / 30 Light Servings
  • Total Calories: 4,290
  • Total Weight: 2.59 lb
  • Hearty Serving Size: 3 Scoops (286 Cal)
  • Light Serving Size: 1.5 Scoops (143 Cal)
  • All Natural Ingredients
  • Made from 28 super foods including Chia, Acai, Goji & more
  • Incredibly Delicious
  • Long Shelf Life: 10+ Years
  • Just Add Water and Shake to Prepare
  • Perfect addition to emergency food storage
  • Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Non-GMO
  • Low Fat – Trans Fat Free
  • Complete Amino Acid Profile
  • Dairy & Soy Free
  • High Protein (30 grams per hearty serving)
  • Low Sugar
  • Complete Vitamin B Complex
  • Good Source of Fiber
  • Immune Booster
  • Cholesterol Free
  • Great for breakfast, weight loss, nutritional supplement
  • Great for hiking, camping, disaster supply & more

Here’s what it looks like right out of the pouch:

MegaOneMealReplacementShake_powderJust add water, and mix well.

MegaOneMealReplacementShake_mixedNow for the taste:

As I always do with taste tests, I share with another member of the family.  I liked the shake, but Apt Prepper son was not wild about the low sugar taste.  However, he does like the nutrients and protein provided by the shake so he still drinks it.

I also wanted to share a few recipes from Amy, my contact at Preparewise.

Recipe 1
2 cups water
1 full serving Mega One
1/4 cup flax seed
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
banana
4 cups spinach
1 cup frozen fruit
Mix all together in a blender or Nutribullet.
Recipe 2
Large Handful of spinach
Handful of frozen berries from Costco
Handful of frozen fruit from Costco
Water to consistency
Three scoops (one serving) of chocolate or vanilla flavored Mega Meal One
Mix all together in a blender or Nutribullet.
Additional notes:  Some replace the water with:
yogurt
almond milk
milk
ice chips
ice cream
Additional ingredients people have added:
various fruits, bananas, berries, pineapple
peanut butter
malt powder
frozen berries
spinach
I can vouch for adding bananas, berries and lots of ice.  It’s filling too.
Why I think Mega One Meal Replacement Shakes are a great addition to your food storage pantry:
  • Quick preparation
  • Just add water- does not require a lot of ingredients
  • Great source of nutrition
  • Occupy very little space
  • Long shelf life
Now for the giveaway!
Prepare Wise is giving a packet of Mega One Meal Replacement Shake (as pictured in the title above)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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What to Do If Your Partner Thinks Prepared = Paranoid

What to do if you partner think prepared equals paranoidThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

On a beautiful day such as the one pictured above, it’s hard to even imagine a natural or even a man-made disaster disrupting things.  If you even mention something about being prepared, your relatives or friends will say “you are just being paranoid.”  I have heard this so often among people who want to prepare; even one of our readers has brought it up in a comment.

Should you forget about being prepared because your partner and your family do not support you?  No!  I think there are a ways to get around this issue.

Understand the other point of view

We have to accept that the majority of the population is not concerned about preparedness.  Even when faced with facts and news about what happened to other people who had been in disasters, they refuse to do anything to prepare.  There are a lot of reasons for this:

  • Ignorance:  Many people are not aware of the threats to infrastructure, and what would happen if trucks stop delivering goods.
  • Fear:  Afraid to admit a lot of things can go wrong.  People do not want to feel threatened and may get turned off the idea
  • Consumerism:  Would rather spend money on shopping for clothes, gadgets, expensive vacations
  • Someone will save us:  Belief that someone (government, family) will be always around to help
  • Normalcy bias:  Belief that things will always be as they were before; refusal to admit something could go wrong even in the face of facts.

Once you understand the reasoning for their resistance, you can start working on your approach.

What NOT to do

Do not try to get preachy or argumentative.  If they are already resistant to the idea, getting into an argument isn’t going to change their mind.

If you get confrontational about it, the person may just “dig their heels” even more or become hostile about the idea.

Start slow

If you sense that your family has objections, you will need to start slowly, with baby steps to get them used to the idea.  Introduce the idea during appropriate times, such as while watching a zombie movie, TV show or hearing about a disaster in another state (that could happen in your location).

Approach the idea in a way that is not threatening but as a conversation piece “What would we do if that were to happen?”  The type of responses you get will determine your next move.

Regional disasters

The easiest things to prepare for are regional perils that your family may face.  It is easier to justify your efforts because of probable threats.

If it’s hurricane season and you are in a hurricane area, you have a good reason to gather supplies and set it aside “just in case.”  Then you can slowly build your stockpile.

Compromise

If your wife or husband loves to shop for the latest and greatest, but you’d rather spend money on emergency supplies, come to an agreement on spending.  Some couples agree on a certain amount of “fun money” per pay period that each one is free to spend without judging from the other.  He or she may want to spend “fun money” at the mall, but you spend yours on supplies.

Other non-threatening approaches

  • Convenience:  If you have supplies, you do not have to be constantly running to the store to restock.  Every new parent knows panic when their baby runs out of formula late at night and they have not gone to the store.  That is something to avoid.  Even running out of everyday items such as sugar or toilet paper is a big pain if you have to drop everything and go to the grocery store for one item because you left it out of your list one day.
  • What matters most   Everyone has things that he or she feels strongly about – , things they would not want to run out or lose access.  The wife or husband who feels you are just being paranoid won’t be so critical if you show you are “doing it for the kids.”  No one would want their kids to suffer in the event of an emergency.  Teens may be concerned about losing power on their smart phones – get them a solar charger.  If your teen daughter is concerned about never running out of tampons, then by all means, stock up on those items.
  • Cost-Cutting:  You can start your stockpile without raising a lot of eyebrows by using frugal techniques that help your household save money.  Start using coupons and taking advantage of “buy one get one free” offers.  When questioned about buying multiples of one item such as canned fruit or granola bars, emphasize what a great deal you got so you stocked up.
  • Hobbies and skills:   You can learn survival and self sufficiency skills like bread making, canning or wood-working without making someone feel insecure by labeling these activities as hobbies.   I once had a long conversation with a mom at church.  She was describing all her husband’s hobbies- gardening, archery, hunting, fishing, and even metal working.  The family, who lives in a nice neighborhood, even has a mini foundry in their garage where her husband crafts swords!  These sound like great survival skills to me, but no one had a problem with it in the neighborhood.  These activities are all considered “hobbies.”

If you feel strongly about becoming prepared and getting some degree of security for your family, it is important that you get started.  Don’t alienate your significant other in the process; instead, frame your activities in a common sense, practical light.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

11 Emergency Foods that can Last a LifetimeThis article originally appeared in Ready Nutrition

By Tess Pennington

Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!

Honey

Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)

Salt

Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides

Sugar

Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).

Wheat

Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Prepper's CookbookAbout this author

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.

 

 

10 Biggest Bug Out Bag Mistakes

10 Biggest Bug Out Bag MistakesThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

When I started being interested in preparedness, I read everything I could in books and blogs to find out what I need to do.  For the purpose of this article, the bug out bag is the one you will take with you to get out of your home in a disaster, not knowing if you are coming back anytime soon.

I had the strong desire to prepare all at once, and as soon as possible.   Every survival site I read stressed the importance of having a bug out bag, or “get out of dodge” (good) bag.  So I jumped in right away.  Looking back, I probably should have spent a bit more time researching instead of rushing.

Here are some of the most common mistakes with bug out bags.

1.  Buying a pack without trying it out thoroughly.   I saw this pack that were highly recommended by another website, and it looked like it had a lot of room.  The guy who reviewed it said it was a similar style to something the military used, so I figured, they go outdoors a lot so it must be good.  And it looked cool.

When the bag came in I was fascinated with all the compartments.  Then I tried to carry it.  The bag weighs about 5 lbs by itself!  When you add all the contents it got so huge, and not at all suitable to my small frame.

Fortunately, my nephew needed a backpack when he came to visit us.  He is 6’2 and built like a football player.  The pack fit him just fine so I gave it to him.

Lessons for this mistake:   Try out a backpack thoroughly before you buy it.

  • Visit a sporting goods store like REI or Academy.  Have a salesperson fit you with the right size and shape.  Not all bags are built for your stature, and carrying a pack that does not fit will eventually start bothering you.
  • Place weights inside and walk around.  These stores actually have bean bags of various weights that they fit in your pack to simulate carrying a full backpack.
  • Walk around the store for 10-15 minutes and see how it feels.  I actually got a little sore around the shoulders and legs after trying out so many but eventually I found the right one.

2.  Choosing a bag that is attention grabbing.

In my opinion, the bag should be low-key, in muted colors so it does not attract a lot of attention.  If you are trying to evacuate, you don’t want to garner attention from the wrong crowd, who may assume your are someone who has lots of supplies and an easy target.  Choose plain brown, black, navy or grey in a nondescript design.

Don’t pack items outside that bag that jingle or chime, which also attract attention.

3.  Not carrying enough water

Water is one of the top needs for survival and so you need to pack enough of it.  You may even have a water purifier or iodine tables but if there is no water source, you are in big trouble.

4.  Packing too much stuff

Although the rule of thumb with packing the bag is that it should be a maximum of 1/3 or your weight, that does not mean you will be comfortable carrying your bag.   People tend to overpack.    For a free tool that will help you plan your bug out bag contents, check out The Bug Out Bag website’s Plan Your Bug Out Bag Contents with our Free Tool.   Imagine if you were packing to walk out of the city in dangerous conditions.  You don’t want to be over-encumbered at a time like this.  Choose your items carefully and reduce weight before anything happens.

5.  Not having a bug out bag for the kids.

Even though you will end up carrying most of your kids’ supplies, they can still use a small bag where they can store their snacks, small toys or stuffed animal that will give them comfort in an emergency.

6.  Not getting into shape

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving in a busy street when I noticed a guy walking along the sidewalk with a full backpack..  It was early in the morning, but the temperature was already climbing, and the heavy humidity was making it hard to breath.  The guy, appeared to be in his 40s-50s, was dressed in a t-shirt, walking shorts and hiking boots.  He was walking briskly, but he did not look like a hitch-hiker or traveller.  I figured he had to be getting in shape, either for a backpacking trip, or for a walk out of the city, in case of disaster.  I concluded this guy has the right idea, getting in shape before an actual emergency forced him to walk out.

Even though getting in shape is not technically having to do with the bag, being able to carry it comfortably is crucial.

7.  Not having anything to repair the bag

You should carry a small sewing kit in your bag so you can repair it if a strap breaks or a tear develops.  A heavy duty sewing awl would be ideal, but a small sewing kit with enough needles of various sizes will suffice.

8.  Being unfamiliar with the contents and compartments of the bag

Make it a point to check the contents of your bag at least every season.  Change the clothing to the appropriate season and weed out old items that may have leaked, dried up or expired.

Be familiar with all the compartments of your bag and organize it.  That way when you need a specific item, you know exactly where to find it.  You’ll avoid having to look in each pocket and having to pull out contents.

9.  Packing sharp objects without proper covering.

Axes, knives and machetes are often included in bug out bags, either inside or outside.  Make sure they are sheathed or at least have the edges wrapped to avoid injuring someone or tearing up the the bag.

10.  Waiting until SHTF to pack

Don’t wait until an emergency or disaster to pack.  If you do not want to have a packed bag, make a list of everything you need while you are thinking straight and keep the list in the bag.  At the very least have all your items inventoried so you know where everything is.

Hopefully, you will never need to utilized a bug-out bag, but if you do, you’ll be glad you put some thought into packing your bag properly.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Monday Musings: 6/2/2014

MondayMusings622014Welcome to another Monday Musings were we share blog updates and interesting links.  Can you believe half the year is over?

First the blog updates…

What’s it like having no cable?  It’s been a couple of weeks since we got rid of cable and so far, the family and I don’t miss much.  I’ve watched some new shows straight from the networks’ websites on my computer; the rest of the shows are from Hulu and Netflix at a fraction of what we were paying for cable.  All in all, it’s been a positive change.

Enter for a chance to win    Jake and Miller Book Review + Giveaway at Lil Suburban Homestead blog http://www.lilsuburbanhomestead.com/2014/05/27/book-review-jake-millers-big-adventure/  Today is the last day to enter.

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Now for the links…

It’s still the economy.

US Economy Set for Rebound After Q1 Contraction

Has The Next Recession Already Begun For America’s Middle Class?

Where would you go? This post brings up good points to consider for either choice.

If SHTF, should you head for the city or country?

Good money saving tip   When I was a kid, my Dad used to cut our hair.  I haven’t been brave enough to try this, but hair cutting is a good skill to have so I may try it.

How to Save your family over $100 a year by cutting your child’s hair at home!

Better than plain water   I’ve tried the vinegar method but will be trying the hydrogen peroxide wash next.

A Handy Guide for Washing Produce

I no longer throw them away  

15 Creative Uses for Coffee Grounds

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

My new book is out!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure

 

Even your TV can Spy on You

Even your TV can Spy on You2It’s bad enough that our smart phone can track us, but I found out something even more creepy than that:  your TV can actually spy on you.  The TV is so common and unnoticed, it is present in most homes, with some households having them in nearly every room.

First, a quick story…  I was loading an exercise DVD into the DVD player and I turned on the TV.  As soon as I turned it on, a message popped up on top of the TV screen that said “software update installing”  I wondered about it as this was completely unrelated to what I was doing.  I told Mr. Apt Prepper about it (he’s more tech oriented) and he said it’s because we have a “smart TV.” and it has software updates, just like a computer.

They are called “smart TVs” because they can connect to the internet, allowing you to browse and stream for shows as well as visit such sites as Twitter, Facebook, Skype, YouTube etc.

Although I have not used the TV to access websites, this got me thinking about the implications.  If your computer activities can be tracked, then it follows that the same thing would apply to the TV – I started reading up on the subject and what I found out confirmed my fears.

What is being tracked?

At the most basic level, your browsing and viewing habits can be tracked, allowing advertisers to know your preferences, and thus tailor the ads to you.

However, because of this feature, EVERYTHING that is viewed on that very same TV can also be tracked and transmitted elsewhere – such as your personal family photos, videos of your birthday celebrations etc.  Even if the source of the material viewed is an outside source such as a flash drive, the information will be collected and tracked.

Even worse, a hacker can add just a few lines of code, and turn the camera toward you, watching your every move.

And you can’t just cover the camera with a piece of duct tape because it is within the TV itself.  I know…  I looked for it.  If the TV can be used to Skype, then it does have a camera somewhere.

From what I have read, there is no “off switch”  Even if you opt out, the tracking can still be done, although LG, the company that was discovered doing this says they will disable the feature.

Here are a couple of articles for more information:

Is your TV Spying on You?

Samsung Smart TV a Spy in the Living Room as Webcam Hack Revealed

LG Admits Its Smart TVs Collected Info, Promises Fix So Customers Can Actually Opt Out

What are the options to prevent data from being collected?

  • Look through all your TV’s options and read the Privacy and Terms of Service.
  • Opt out of anything having to do with collection of viewing information.  Every TV is different so the menu options will be different.
  • Don’t connect the TV to the internet.
  • Don’t buy a smart TV.

Just as the smart phone offers a lot of advantages, so do the smart TVs, along with the tracking that comes with it.  More and more, these convenient features comes with a price:  our privacy.  Only you can decide if you are willing to pay the price.

 

What’s Your Threat: Economic Downturn

Whats Your Threat  Economic Downturn

When I started my preparedness journey, I was mainly concerned about preparing for the next hurricane, but as time went on, I felt there may be a possibility for a major economic turmoil in our future.

We already experienced “The Great Recession” back in 2009 when many people lost jobs and businesses.  We had our own share of financial troubles, and, have not fully recovered yet.  Although the media reminds us the economy continues to improve, we can see the writing on the wall.  The government continues to print money, banks continue their bad behavior that led to the decline, and people continue to get in over their heads in credit.  We all know what happened in the Great Depression.  Back them people were a lot more resilient and not as self entitled as people are today.

Even if the economy continues along in its path, there is also always a chance of a personal economic turmoil, if you were to lose your job.  In that situation, everyone else is fine, but you still have to find a way to pick up the pieces and keep going.

Steps to prepare for another economic downturn

    • Avoid debt like it’s the plague.  Adding to your current debt by buying stuff you don’t need only worsens the problem.  The short term boost of buying something new is not worth the anguish later when the bill comes.  Put the brakes on borrowing now.
    • Downsize your lifestyle.  Now is the time to reduce your fixed overhead costs such as housing, utilities and other bills.  You might consider moving to a small house or apartment, giving up cable, going to a lower cell phone plan etc.
    • Make your home more secure.  In a bad economy, thefts and other crimes will rise.  Make your apartment or house more secure while you have resources.  Even a low tech solution is better than none.  Take a class in self-defense, get trained in firearm safety or find options in personal defense.  Your mode of defense is a personal choice, but at least consider your options.
    • Build your emergency fund.   Make it a habit to save some of your income every month.  You may need to rely on savings if you lose your job.
    • Keep cash at home  Even if nothing happens, it is important to have some cash hidden at home in case your credit and debit cards stop working.  A power outage, a security breach such as the recent one at Target, or identity theft can all cause you to lose access to bank cards.
    • Get a side gig.  It is a good idea to develop some income on the side, in addition to your regular employment.  You could try moonlighting at night, or using one of your hobbies to make items that people would buy.
    • Boost your preps.  Before prices rise, buy bulk foods and add to your emergency supplies.  If you were to lose your job, you can use your food storage to tie you over until things get better.
    • Consider buying physical gold and silver.   To find out about buying gold and silver, I accompanied a friend to a gold dealer in town; see Part 2 here.  For more info about protecting your savings using gold and silver, see Economic Collapse:  5 Strategies for Protecting your 401k Savings
    • Develop self sufficiency skills.  Learn to do things on your own, instead of relying on outside services:  bake your own bread, make yogurt at home, use essential oils, start a garden etc.  You don’t have to learn everything all at once, just choose one skill and try it out.  Not everything works out right away – there is a learning curve.  You’ll find some things you like, and some things you won’t.  The main thing is to try it out.
    • Find product substitutes.   We all have our favorite name brands, but sometimes you can replace the pricey brand with a simple solution:  make your own cleaning supplies or laundry detergent.  Or, if you really like your products, try using less.
    • Take care of your health.  Maintaining your health is important, especially if there are stressful times ahead.  Keep a healthy weight, exercise and take care of any health issues now.
    • Take action.  All too often, we get bogged down reading but neglect the next step:  doing what you need to do.
    • Don’t worry.   It can get overwhelming sometimes, and these worries can keep you up at night.  If you are already preparing and taking care of what you need to do, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your best.


See what other members of The Prepared Bloggers consider to be current risks, in our first ever blog hop:

What's Your Threat? What's the biggest threat to you and your family? Check out some amazing blogs and how they attack their biggest threats to being more prepared and more self-reliant!
Push Past the Fear and Just Do It!! – Mom with a PREP

Living in Tornado Alley – The Busy B Homemaker

{Forest Fire Safety} – Mama Kautz

Why You Need Food Storage – Food Storage Moms

Break in the Supply Chain – Homestead Dreamer

Drought! – Ever Growing Farm

Medical Emergencies at Home – Preparedness Mama

Surviving a Tornado – Survival at Home

Wildfire – Cooke’s Frontier

Rising Food Prices – Common Sense Homesteading

Economic Collapse – Timber Creek Farms

A Personal Job Loss Situation – Food Storage Made Easy

7 Tips for Keeping Your Family Together in an Emergency – Food Storage & Survival

Massive Blackout- Trailerpark Homestead

How to Overcome a Lack of Motivation to Prepare – Home Ready Home

The Unexpected – Are We Crazy, Or What?

Our Threats Are Many, But Our Worries Are None – Trayer Wilderness

Food Storage Without a Plan – My Food Storage Cookbook

Hurricanes and Nor’Easters – Backyard Pioneer

Hurricanes (What I Wish I Knew Before it Hit!) – Prepared-Housewives

A Financial Disaster – The Surival Mom

Staying Off the Radar – Geek Prepper

Everything Becomes Too Expensive – Beyond Off Grid

 

My new book is out!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure

Grow More! Spend Less!

Grow More!  Spend Less!

 

Debt-Proof Living