"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
July 15, 2015
Celebrate Like a Pioneer
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

Every day we walk into a room, flip a switch and in an instant there is light. We push a button and can be spending a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. We move a little device on our desk and can be sharing news around the world. We place clothes or dishes in a box and a half hour later they are clean.

We expect all of these things to be at our fingertips every day, but within mili-seconds of an EMP attack or solar storm we can be transported back to 1850 and living like Abraham Lincoln, chopping wood for warmth and reading by candle light.

But it may not be an EMP or solar storm that leaves us in the dark, an earthquake, hurricane, blizzard, terrorist attack, or even a wild fire in the right place could propel us back in time.

There are days when that life sounds really good to me. It would be so nice to have the peace and quiet with just the sound of a crackling fire. It would be great to have an excuse to read a book I have been putting off because of a lack of time. It would be wonderful to lie on the lawn and look at the stars.

For those in the city you would actually be able to see the stars again. Not everything about the lack of electricity is a bad thing.

This year to celebrate Pioneer Day, why not teach self-reliance? Unplug the TV, turn off the Internet, put tape over light switches and live like the pioneers did for a day or two or even more.

For dinner, barbecue meat, add vegetables, homemade butter, and Dutch oven biscuits. Add Dutch oven fruit cobbler and top with homemade ice cream for dessert. Foil dinners are always a huge hit with kids and easy to make.

Experiementing will not only help your children learn valuable survival skills but also make you more aware of items you may need to purchase to be ready for a longterm emergecny.

When darkness comes, lie under the stars and tell stories, spot constellations and watch for shooting stars.

Think about lighting the house after your stargazing. Get out candles and lanterns or lie down in front of a fire for illumintion as you play a game. Do not leave candles burning when you turn in for the night. Glow sticks and flashlights should be used for safety’s sake.

Wash clothes on a wash board and hang them on a clothes line.

It’s not all about electricty. Don’t use the car; if you need to do something away from home you'll have to walk, take a bike, or borrow a horse. Explain to your family that the things you are going to do to celebrate are the same things their great-grandparents did as children.

Play some of those 1850s games such as dominoes, checkers, marbles, graces, three-legged races, wheelbarrow races, blind man's bluff, leap frog, or shadow tag.

To play graces, each player gets a log stick. You will need a large ring such as a embroidery hook. The ring in tossed from player to player who catches it with their stick.

To play shadow tag choose someone to be "it." That person then chases the others, just like tag, except they are trying to step on the other person's shadow.

Work on a puzzle together.

Make taffy. If you have never made taffy you are in for a treat. Your children will really appreciate this candy once it is finished.

Make candles. Cut pieces of cord into double the desired height for your candle, adding two extra inches. Cords are folded in half and each half dipped in to a pot of hot candle wax, then cooled and dipped again.

This was done over and over until the candle is thick enough. Place a stick between two chairs. Hang several on the stick to harden between dippings. This job was often given to the children.

Make stilts and learn to walk in them.

Tell stories about your own pioneer or immigrant heritage. It doesn't have to be stories from 1800 America, but any family stories you know that teach your family about persurvirance and determintion will help your children appreciate their own ancestors and gain self-confidence.

Through this adventure your children will grow to appreciate their pioneer ancestors, even if they never crossed the plains but spent their lives in Brooklyn New York, and gained confidence in their newfound abilities. Your entire family will learn skills, which will enable you to be better prepared to thrive when an emergency situation arises.

Now go celebrate like a pioneer!

If you are just beginning food storage or need help storing non-food items be sure to visit Carolyn’s Facebook page each Monday. She has just begun posting items to accumulate a three-month supply of the foods you actually eat.


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About Carolyn Nicolaysen

Carolyn Nicolaysen grew up in New Jersey and joined the Church while attending Central College in Pella, Iowa. With a degree in Home Economics, she later worked as a high school teacher, and served as an elected trustee of her local school board. Carolyn has taught personal and family preparedness to all who will listen. Having lived in areas that were threatened by winter storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, and now living in an earthquake prone area, she has developed a passion for preparedness. Carolyn started her own business, TotallyReady, when she saw the need for higher quality emergency information that could truly sustain families in a disaster.

Carolyn is FEMA trained and is an Amateur Radio first responder. She serves as Relief Society president of her California ward.

Carolyn is the author of three ebooks, Mother Hubbard, What She's Doing Now (food storage for the 21st century), Prep Not Panic (preparing for a pandemic of medical emergency) and That Won't Happen to Me (a discussion of disaster preparations). She has also authored a glove box book, Totally Ready for the Road and writes a monthly newsletter and the Totally Ready facebook page.

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