Lets discuss for a minute the need to learn how to do some things for yourself.

You probably already know lots of reasons why you should. You may not be inclined to do what you think of as crafty or hands-on kinds of things, but I want to encourage you, you can do this.  And you need to do this for the benefit of your family and yourself.  We live in a completely industrialized, automatic, instant, just in time world….. but its not healthy. Its not healthy for your mind or your body, your finances or your future.

Do you know what a just in time system is?  Here is a definition of Just In Time from the Investopedia.

An inventory strategy companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs.
This method requires that producers are able to accurately forecast demand.

So what that means is instead of thinking about Just In Case…. and making preparations for the future, Just In Time means you find what you need just in time to use it.   That’s why there are huge lines at the grocery stores when a winter storms looms.

The same can be said for prepping other necessities besides food. Food is a biggie but there are things we all need on a day to day basis.

Learning some skills that can help you when a disaster or emergency strikes is one thing you cannot wait until Just In Time to learn. You need to learn some skills Just in Case. Here is a list of skills you should consider learning.

Simple Carpentry tasks
Get some tools:
flat head screw driver
Phillips head screw driver
small pry bar
small saw
Miter box and saw
several grades of sand paper

There are places online where you can learn basic carpentry skills. Here are two:

Basic Carpentry Skills

Family Handy Man

Here are some of the basic carpentry skills you should know, but these aren’t all, check out the sites.

Hold a piece of wood over nails before nailing them with a hammer
use pliers to hold small nails
Don’t try to hang pictures directly into drywall without an anchor
remember to measure three times so you can cut once
wood filler – shrinks, you must sand it

One good project for new carpenters is to repair a small piece of drywall.

Bread Making is one skill that everyone should know. There are lots of ways to make bread. We always think of a big loaf of white bread but you can easily make flat bread, even without an oven. Check out my Soft, Whole Wheat Flatbread recipe.

Bread has been called the staff of life.  Almost all cultures in the world have some form of bread. Chances are, you eat bread or grain in some form. Pancakes, waffles, biscuits and cornbread are all made from grain. Unless you make your own bread, you must purchase it from someone who does make it. Good bread is costly today. So learning to make it yourself is a great way to save money and make sure your bread is healthy and additive free.

There is a huge amount of information online and in the library about making bread. All you have to do is get out there and read and then experiment. So instead of telling you how to make bread, I’d like to offer you some encouragement; try out my soft whole wheat flat bread recipe. And,if you need some more recipes you can search here on my site. I have flat bread (made with baking soda), soft flat bread (made with yeast), white bread, whole wheat bread, rolls and more.

Basic Herbal Remedies are a great way to keep your family healthy and save money. Its so good to have this knowledge when the doctor is unavailable.

Years ago when I started to get interested in making herbal remedies for myself, I was a little hesitant. I didn’t want to poison anyone, sure didn’t want to make anyone sick or choose the wrong plant.   Pretty soon I calmed down and recalled that I was raised on herbal remedies. So I called my grandmother and then called my Mother and pretty soon I had a whole first aid kit of herbal remedies.

It’s a simple process that requires simple tools. So long as you have…

boiling water
a pot, cup, or jar

…you have a very safe and effective healing remedy.

Herbal teas can be prepared either through infusion or decoction based on the delicacy of the plant material.

Creating an herbal infusion involves pouring boiling water over parts of the plant such as leaves, flowers, and stems then allowing the infusion to steep for 10 to 45 minutes (The longer the steeping time the more beneficial components of the herbs are released into the water). Note: Cover the jar, bowl, or cup while steeping to avoid the loss of medicinal properties from evaporation.

Decoctions refer to the method of extracting the medicinal properties of the more substantial parts of the plant, such as the roots, barks, or seeds.
In order to prepare herbal teas using this method, one would be required to place the herb and water into a covered pot and bring the mixture to a simmer for 15-45 minutes on the stove, depending on the strength needed.
Important to Note: Don’t panic if you happen to infuse a root herb that should have simmered…your creation is still good and contains many healing properties.

A good rule of thumb for preparing herbal infusions or decoctions is to use a ratio of 1 tablespoon of dried herbs — or 2 tablespoon of fresh herbs – to 1 cup of water. These days, I rarely ever make tea by the cupful — it’s just to time consuming. Instead, my favorite way to prepare daily medicinal teas is to grab a quart-sized mason jar and place a handful (approx. 1/4 cup) of dried herbs in the jar. Fill to the top with boiling water and infuse in the refrigerator overnight. I strain it in the morning and keep the jar with me — drinking it all throughout the day.

I generally use this method for nourishing and immune-system building tea blends.

But during times of illness, the rules are a bit different — and the effectiveness of the tea is seen in small, more frequent dosages. For example, at the onset of a fever or headache begin sipping on an appropriate tea — taking 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the beverage – every 30 minutes until the symptoms are relieved.

Although medicinal teas aren’t quite as concentrated and potent as a tincture, I believe strongly in their ability to support the body toward health.

Herbal First Aid Kit – Here is my kit and what I use at home
1. Nettle Leaf.

2. Lemon Balm.

3. Chamomile.

4. Dandelion Root.

5. Echinacea Root.

6. Peppermint.

7. Plantain.

8. Elderberries.

9. Rose Hips.

Don’t grow your own herbs? Here are the two suppliers I use regularly and I’m very happy with them both.


Here’s how I make a tea for someone who has a bad cold:
Warming Ginger Tea
…this will warm up the frostiest person in your family, and its great for those who are ailing.

4 cups water
2 oz fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
5 whole cloves
Juice of one lemon

Bring all to a boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain into cups and sweeten as desired with honey, sugar or agave nectar.

Now, when it comes to herbs, its pretty simple to make a tea. Remember these two things:
1. Most herbs are slow acting so you won’t make yourself sick by using herbs that you have read up on and know are not potentially poisonous. Most herbs used medicinally are not poisonous.
2. Use very hot but not boiling water and allow herbs to steep for about 10 minutes before using them

To make most any kind of tincture you’ll need:

– A Solvent like 100 proof alcohol or vegetable glycerin
-quart sized glass mason jar
-fresh and/or dried herbs

Here is a recipe for a cold and cough tincture. Not a tea, its taken by the teaspoonful:
Supplies needed

-2 ounces dried echinacea root
-1 ounce fresh lemon balm
-1 ounce fresh horehound
-1 ounce fresh sage
-100 proof vodka (or a mixture of 60% vegetable glycerin and 40% water) to fill jar

1. Measure your herbs using a small kitchen scale or diet scale.
2. Chop fresh herbs, until fine, crush dried herbs
3. Put all the herbs in a glass, quart sized jar with fitting lid.
4. Pour your solvent over herbs to fill the jar. The solvent should cover the herbs by 1-2 inches.
5. Place the lid on the jar and shake until the herbs are well combined.
6. Label jar with contents and date.
7. Set in a warm, sunny window and steep for 2-6 weeks, shaking daily.
8. Strain with a cheesecloth and discard or compost the herbs. Store the tincture in dark colored glass jars. Tinctures are good for up to 5 years.

For this cough and cold tincture, use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon every 30 minutes until symptoms subside.

Child’s Dosage

I recommend calculating a child’s dose by using “Young’s Rule.” Add 12 to the child’s age then divide his/her age by that number. For example, my daughter is 8 therefore the calculation that I will use is

8 + 12 = 20

8 /20=0.40 (8 divided by 20 = .40)

I will give her 40% of an adult dose.


Everyone should know some sewing skills. Everyone should be able to make basic repairs to their clothing.
And that’s what you need to learn, basic stitches and what they are used for.
Lets get more basic: you need a sewing kit. Just find a small sturdy box like a cigar box.

Here are a couple of sites where you can learn the basics of sewing:

Sew Mama Sew

Instructables – Learn To Sew

Here is a list of what will be very handy in a sewing kit for the beginner and advanced sewer and will allow you to make basic repairs and make basic articles of clothing or other sewn items like kitchen towels or pillow cases.

Buttons in assorted colors and sizes
Hooks and eyes
Iron-on tape or patches
Thread in various colors. A thread that is a mix of polyester and cotton is best for most sewing.
Needle threader
Needles in assorted sizes
Safety pins
Scissors – large for cutting fabric, small for cutting seams or making repairs while sewing, there are other types of scissors for specific jobs but if you’re a beginning sew-er you probably won’t need any other kind.
Seam binding
Seam ripper
Straight pins
Tape measure

Some of the basic things you should learn to sew:
Cutting knits properly
Darning socks