Before I announce the winner of the Aqua Pail, I have to give a huge shout-out to each of you!  I was thrilled by all your comments and all the great ideas I got for posts/focuses for this year.  It really helped me get a big picture of what you, my readers, are looking for. 

Some of your suggestions were things I’m already planning on focusing on this year, but some were completely new ideas to me.  I’ve now got a great list of post ideas to draw from for 2013. I sincerely appreciate your help in developing that list!  One of the most difficult things with blogging is coming up with new ideas to write about.  You all really came through in helping me do that.  THANK YOU!

Goals for 2013

My overall goal for this blog over 2013 is to offer more high-quality, relevant, well-researched information.  I want you to be able to rely on, trust and use the information that you find here.  I want to do this even if it means that I post a little less often b/c I spend more time researching/writing.  As a sub-goal to that, I’d like to make that information much more accessible and easy to find.  My third “big” goal is to give more.  I want to make preparing easier for more people financially.  With those three overarching goals in mind, here are a few things you should see (if I meet my goals.  (-: ) in 2013:

  • A printable & e-book version of my Survival Kit Series
  • A “100% shelf stable recipes” e-book (also printable), that will list 30 days worth of well-balanced, tasty meals that you can make from 100% shelf-stable foods.  This will also include a list of every food item you would need to store to make those meals.
  • Search-able Recipes.  I want you to be able to search and filter my recipes to find just those that will work for your family’s dietary needs.
  • Search-able Tips.  While I post product tips each Tuesday, these can be hard to find later.  That will soon change.
  • The addition of emergency product highlights.  Up until now, most of my product highlights have focused on THRIVE.  I’ve gotten quite a few requests to also highlight other useful emergency products.  I will begin doing this next week and will alternate between THRIVE and e-prep items every other week.
  • A larger ($250+) giveaway each month.  I will continue the smaller weekly giveaways as well.
  • A yearly $1500 giveaway each July will be by nomination similar to the one I did last July.
  • A yearly $1500 giveaway each December which you can “apply” for.  This will be sort of a “Food Storage Makeover” type idea where you tell me why you need help and what help you need.  One winner will get a $1500 makeover.  (-:
  • A new series every 2 months.  I haven’t decided which order to do these in, so leave me some comments here and let me know which you’d like me to do first!  However, I am going to postpone the Sun Oven series until the Spring or Summer (more info on that this Friday).
  1. Preparedness with Kids
  2. Preparing with $20 / week or less
  3. Your 3 Month Food / Water Supply: A Beginner’s Guide
  4. Prepping when your space is limited
  5. Cooking without electricity
  6. Herbal Remedies / Emergency Medical Treatment

Other topics that are on my list to cover for 2013:

(many based on your comments and suggestions!):

  • Laundry the Old Fashioned Way
  • Building a Basic First Aid Kit
  • Using your Excalibur dehydrator
  • How do I know where to evacuate to in an emergency?
  • Gardening
  • Keeping things clean during an emergency
  • How will I contact family and friends without my cell phone?
  • Bartering (especially barterable skills)
  • How to help your extended family
  • Helping others see the importance of being self-reliant
  • Being self-reliant while traveling
  • Prep specific to different geographic locations / natural disasters
  • Preparing for extreme weather (hot and cold)

Announcing the Winner

Choosing a winner was a bit more complicated than usual this time.  Usually, I just count up the total comments, go to and they choose a number for me.  Whatever comment number is chosen is the winner.  But this time, there were quite a few people who commented on Facebook, or left all four entries in one comment, or left extra comments (usually helpful ones!), or who simply were not able to comment at all b/c of glitches with my site (sorry). 

So, what I did was write each person’s name in an excel spreadsheet.  If you had one entry by commenting, emailing, or on Facebook, I wrote your name once.  If you had 2-4 entries, I wrote your name 2-4 times.  I ended up with 154 entries.  So, I went to and had them choose a number between 1-154.  56 was the number I got.  So, drum roll, please …

Sabrina Gardner was #56  in my spreadsheet! Congrats Sabrina!  I will contact you by email with details about how to claim your Aqua Pail!

Thanks again for a great 2012!  I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings!