Category Archives: SHTF

American Family Now has moved!

This site will no longer be updated. You can find us by clicking here, or visiting Posts written from June 2010 to April 2012 will remain available here indefinitely, but we would love for you to follow us on over to the new place where you will find additional resources, more recent family stories, and new ways to join a growing community. So hop on over here and click subscribe to start, or continue, receiving updates of new posts and join in the fun!

Police State Prep ~ our guest post at Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest

Last week Ryan, from Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest, shared a guest post with us on one aspect of what being libertarian means. Now you can find a guest post by American Family Now on his blog, on eight things we have done to prepare for a police state. Here’s a quote from the post:

There was a time when local law enforcement was a symbol of good citizenship, honor, and service to the community. This is no longer that time. Now we are hard pressed to turn on the news or read national headlines when checking our email without hearing yet another example of police brutality, unconstitutional search and seizure, and even the death of innocent citizens at the hands of our “trusted authorities” who do as they are told instead of upholding and defending the rights of the people.

Please check out our post by visiting his site here. Thank you!

planning for captivity

This is a tough one. A subject that has laid on the backburner of my thoughts for a long time because it feels so morbid, like preparing a will in case Papa and I die while our children are young.

And yet, preparing a will is good because while you hope you’ll never need it, you’ll wish you had made one if you knew you would be leaving your children behind.

Preparing children for captivity is the same idea. The Department of Human Services, or CPS, or whatever you want to call it, has been taking children away from good families for a long time. In one case that made it to the news, a child was taken from her mom because her mom refused to give her medications for ADD. I knew of one family in our area whose children were removed from their home for over a month because the parents were having a hard time making ends meet. Then there was the couple from NH whose baby was taken from them immediately after birth and kept in foster care for a few weeks, because the state mistook the father for a convicted domestic abuser by the same name.

The parents that have their children taken away because of tyrannical government never suspect that it will happen to them – they are just trying to do what’s right for their kids.

I hope with all my heart our children remain healthy, safe, and at home, until they are adults, but if for some insane reason they are taken from us, I would be freaking out. We would obviously do everything naturally possible for us to get them back, but imagine the damage that could be done in the meantime… the emotional, mental, and even spiritual abuse that could take place in their little hearts…

I really don’t want to be writing this. I don’t want to be thinking about it. Each time I let the idea brew in my mind, thinking about the what-ifs and what-follows make me clam up and feel sick.

But that is nothing compared to what it would feel like if it happened in real life. What if our kids are the next ones on the list?

Papa and I watched part of a series of history lectures taught by Christian men, and one of them talked about Daniel. Perhaps, even if you’re not a Christian you have heard of Daniel in the lion’s den. Well Daniel was taken before he came of age by soldiers from a foreign country. He never went home. He never saw his family again. And yet, he remained true to his faith. He grew into a confident man, understanding his own convictions and never wavering from them, although he became a well-respected citizen by leaders of his new country, even though they did not believe in his God.

It is clear that Daniel was taught well by loving parents as a child. They made good use of the time they had with him by inspiring him to be a man of character, a man of faith, a man worthy of respect. And they did all that before he reached the teen years.

God forbid that our children are removed from our care by force, but if they are, I want to be like Daniel’s mom. I want to prepare our children to handle the trauma of captivity so that if it ever happens, they know their source of life has not been taken away – they depend on God for life, not us.

We have not scared our children with stories of present-day captors, although parts of this scenario have come up in conversation with Buddy. He knows it is unlikely, that no one is going to take him away without warning, and that we will protect him (and his siblings), but I don’t think a full disclosure is really necessary to begin preparing them for captivity – much of it is in Papa’s and my own mindset – like creating a direction, or goals, for the future. What do we feel is important for our children to know, early on, whether to prepare for captivity or simply to be good people?

This is still a work in progress, but there are three things that we believe are absolutely essential to teach our kids.

  • Love for God – First and foremost, it is God who gives life and meaning to live. No matter what happens, God will love them, and they must always serve God.
  • Principles of good and bad government –If they are taken from our care, they will be told we are unfit parents, and be led to believe that the government has their best interest at heart. They need to have a clear understanding of who they can trust, who they can’t, and why.
  • The ability to think independently of pressure – To use common sense as much as it is available to them based on age in forming beliefs and making decisions, no matter what teacher, adoptive parent, friend, or social worker tells them.

I realize that at a very young age, some of this would be nearly impossible to imbed in their hearts, but they are impressionable, and for the time we have them, whether a short time or (we pray) for many years to come, we will make it our priority to teach them well.

8 scenarios in which you will wish you had food stored up

The basic theory of prepping is simple: to be prepared before a significant event (SHTF scenario) occurs. In essence, this is a proactive approach to survival… Prepping at its most basic is simply being prepared for an unknown event that will have a direct impact on you, your family, or your group.”     ~ Zion Prepper, The Prepper’s Handbook, 2011

We have shared with you some of the reasons why we store food and how we started, but even though we feel it is very important, especially for family with kids at home, I realized we haven’t given you many examples of why it would be beneficial to you to store up food. So here are 8 scenarios that could very well happen (or already have) in which you will wish you had a food storage. Remember, it may seem silly to you now, but when an emergency happens, your opportunity to prepare will be long gone.

1) You forgot to add something to the grocery list. Okay, so this is a bit trivial, but how many times did I start to mix a batter together only to discover that I didn’t have x, y, or z, before we started our food storage? Now that we have one, if I do forget something, I can almost always find what I’m looking for in the food storage and then add it to the grocery list.

2) You have unexpected guests. A friend drops by at dinner time and you weren’t planning on an extra person. Suddenly the casserole you were planning isn’t big enough to feed everyone, and you don’t know what to make. Simply shop in your food storage and with a little creativity, a larger meal can be made to accomodate everyone.

3) Bad weather or a natural disaster hits. You aren’t able to travel to the grocery store, and at a time when people normally grab a few extra things, transportation of food to your grocery store from the warehouse becomes more difficult and less timely, resulting in empty shelves at the supermarket.

4) Inflation or crop troubles result in food prices skyrocketing beyond what your budget can handle. This has happened to a minor degree in recent years. Generally we can manage and spend a little extra on food, but a food storage can help you spend less until the crisis passes.

5) You lose your job and have to cut corners until a new one can be found. Many people are finding themselves in this place now, and who wants to choose between buying food and paying bills? Again, having a food storage can help you to reduce your grocery bill so you only need to purchase fresh produce and meats.

6) Our country loses control of oil in the middle east. We know our government doesn’t want to drill for oil here, so less oil means less fuel for transporting food from the country and the warehouses to the grocery store, which means tightening up the belt for those who don’t store up.

7) China decides to confiscate our food supply. We owe an insane amount of money to China, and last I checked, we weren’t even keeping up with the interest payments. They have already traded payments for food on a small scale, what happens if they decide they want more than we can afford to give? 

8) Civil unrest results in rioting, and either martial law or no rule of law. As demonstrated by the occupy movement and other groups, people in our country are getting more and more upset with the way things are being run around here. Times like Katrina, and short-term events since then have proven that the government believes they have the right to confiscate and redistribute food. And even if they aren’t involved, travel would be unsafe and food sparse in such cases.

Please store up food for your family! A short-term food storage of one week to three months worth of food should hold you over for almost any natural disaster or minor emergency, but planning for at least six months to a year is ideal so you know you will be able to feed your family no matter comes down the line.

facing the unknown

We may be unemployed no longer, but I want to return for a moment to one of the facets of joblessness that we, and so many others have faced – the elephant in the room, if you will – fear of the unknown.

(pictures featured in this post were taken by Papa on our honeymoon trip to Ireland in 2004)

What happens when you lose your job, when the job market is horrible, and when you are forced to decide between housing and groceries? What happens when the answers are not clear and the future is in question?

I found an article in the July 4, 2011 issue of Time magazine on where the jobs are. In Papa’s industry of construction, the rate of unemployment is more like 16%, and for every job opening there are 12 workers looking for employment. That’s a lot of jobless people, and that’s only one line of work.

The future is unknown for so many Americans and fear is a common reaction, leaving marriages and families in shambles, and individuals with serious health problems, or worse.

To suggest that there is a certain way anyone should handle a job loss feels inappropriate to me because everyone is different; different expectations, personal and family needs, goals, etc. There is no on-size-fits-all plan that an unemployed person can carry out to get themselves back in line with success, and to suggest that would also be presumptuous for us, who are still living in substandard (though comfortable) conditions.

However, there were two things Papa and I did do that I think every unemployed family should do, for the sake of their family and their sanity.


Facing the unknown can be a bit scary, but it is imperative that you face it together, and you face it with a positive attitude. Money problems are one of the top marriage killers, but unemployment due to a layoff is not anyone’s fault, and arguing about it is not going to make the road any easier. We can’t see it as something happening to one of us that the other has to deal with. We are a team, and we will face the unknown together.

My grandparents took a trip to Alaska a couple years ago to celebrate their 50th anniversary, and they blessed us with a copy of their book of experiences from that journey. In the front was a handwritten note to Papa and I that read:

“The world can be green and rich. It can also be dark and foreboding. Walking through it together is joyful when green and so much more possible when dark and risky, so clasp hands and walk boldly to see what wonders await.”

They also quoted from an old song:

“We ain’t got a barrel of money, we may look ragged and funny, but we travel along singing our son side by side.”


Second (and how do you follow up with wisdom like that?), unemployment is not the end of the world. You can’t always plan when it will happen, or what you will do if it happens, but there are so many creative possibilities for living without a job that you have to be able to see the unknown, not as a scary place, but as an adventure, an opportunity for growth and change. Perspective is where it’s all at.

If you find yourself without a job, and you’re waiting in line at the unemployment office, unsure how to explain your situation to others, stop. Stop sitting in the fear, stop fretting about the unknown. You can do this! Start imagining the possibilities of a career change, a change of living space, or other adventure you’ve wanted to attempt but never dared commit to. What is the best thing you can do with the resources you still have? Run yourself into the ground trying to keep your house? Stressing yourself out to the point of emergency room visits? Fighting with your spouse about the expense column? Or is there something better for you and your family?

Perspective. It’s all in the perspective.

To quote from Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame:

“Today, to him gazing south with a new-born need stirring in his heart, the clear sky over their long outline seemed to pulsate with promise; today, the unseen was everything, the unknown the only real fact of life. On this side of the hills was now the real blank, on the other lay the crowded and colored panorama that his inner eye was seeing so clearly.”

Is the unknown really something to be feared? Or, is it an adventure waiting to be had? Clasp hands and walk boldly to see what wonders await.

Adjustment Period

It’s been two weeks since Papa went back to work. Initially it didn’t feel like an adjustment was really necessary. With odd jobs related to our homestead or helping out family and friends, his absence for the day was not unusual.

(making indian head dresses for Thanksgiving)

The kids and I went about our daily business, anticipating the return of Papa at dinner time with excitement, but managing just fine without him. Then 3 or 4 days passed and we all started recognizing those tell-tale signs of a major life change (which this is after 11 months of unemployment).

The kids were all more fussy, unable to explain their malcontent. The water tank ran low and I didn’t know how to fill it. The battery died and I couldn’t start the generator (Papa came home to find me cooking by the light of a lantern). And only one blessed hour between Papa’s arrival and the kids’ bedtime.

(Girlie in her Thanksgiving dress)

Once the realization hit that this was not an odd job day and Papa would be gone again tomorrow, the bitter-sweet reality of employment finally sank in.

This week he had two extra days off due to Thanksgiving; an opportunity for the kids to play around him outside while he worked on the homestead, and for Papa to give me some lessons in the plumbing of the camper. A gentle way to ease us into our new routine, but next week it will be Monday morning to Friday night again.

Honestly, I think we’re doing pretty well with this. It’s hard, but that’s to be expected, and we are finding a new routine. The afternoons are the longest, and planning dinner is what I hold onto as my hope for the evening and our daily family reunion.

(my 3 month old niece – isn’t she cute?!)

While this post is mainly intended to share what our experience has been like, I want to emphasize that this is not a sign the economy is turning around. Just this week I learned of one, and possibly two friends, who have been laid off, one because the organization he worked for has closed its doors for good. And rumor has it that a company we had reason to believe might hire Papa earlier this year has just laid off six employees.

Another sign the economy is bad – has anyone else noticed the huge push for Christmas layaways this year? And Christmas decorations on the shelf just after the school year began. Businesses are really concerned about their bottom line right now, and no matter how much they push their ads, people still don’t have money to spend.

I don’t want to sound depressing, but since we are trying to represent an average American family and encourage other families that are in the trenches, we feel it is very important for our readers who may not be experiencing the pinch that just because we have a job at this time does not mean the “recession” is over. We all still need to be wise with our resources, and be prepared for the future no matter what it holds.

On that note, you can expect that our new routine may change a little about what we write, but our lifestyle won’t change. We are still living in a camper because our income is still low and we want to save money if we can, and our passion is still to encourage and inspire other struggling families that they can thrive in this economy, no matter their personal budget.

If you know anyone who might benefit from what we share here, please send them an invite to subscribe! Our readership is growing quickly, and we’re meeting more and more people who are looking for ideas and stories. It is exciting to see these connections made, and we hope to see it continue to grow and bless others.

kissing unemployment goodbye

Eleven months and one day after Papa’s last day of work, he was hired for another woodworking company! That’s right, he’s back in the workforce, just one month before the state unemployment reimbursement would run out. What a blessing!

(photos in this post show some of Papa’s past work as a carpenter)

The company he is now working for is about 15 miles from our home, and coincidentally is the same company his dad was employed by for several years in the 80’s. Kind of neat that it has a generational twist!

The pay is not nearly as good as his last job offered, which means we still can’t afford the mortgage, but it is more than unemployment is paying us, so we should be able to save a little for another car (still borrowing one from family).

Papa will be using his carpentry skills, so he won’t have to learn a new trade, and the work that is required uses creativity; something that is very important to him.

We are very thankful, but it is also strange. No more late mornings, doing devotions as a family and seeing Papa off to his work outdoors or to do odd jobs for friends. Now he’ll be gone from 7am to 5pm every week day, as the sun rises and sets during the winter. Eleven months is a long time to be on such little income, but it has also been a blessing in some ways. We were just discussing how he has been home for more than half of Pal’s life, a precious gift to our young ones.

Some day we hope that we’ll be self-sufficient enough that our physical needs will be covered by odd jobs, leaving most of Papa’s time for family pursuits, but until then this new company is offering a chance for Papa to put his skills to good use, and the things we’ve learned over the past year will help us to save even more while he is employed. We are still planning to have an off-grid house built within two years!

Even though we are no longer unemployed, American Family Now will continue to follow the same direction it has – sharing our story as we learn to thrive in a poor economy, use our resources as wisely as we can, follow this adventure as a family, and hopefully encourage others along the way.

We fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas, former detective testifies

This is just more of the same. Good people like you and me are being unjustly harassed and framed by bafoons behind a badge. Why does it take so long for these things surface, and how many more cases are never heard? We do not need more incompetent people policing our streets we need much fewer but honorable people.

A far fetched Welsh Rarebit is a fetched Welsh Rabbit


What was common though, back in my growing up to get big years, was my fathers lunch special “cheddar cheese on crackers”. This consisted of toasted saltine crackers arranged on a plate to be two four by four matrices stacked one on top the other and mortared together by the industrious Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup. The remaining outcasts of saltines would be dealt out like cards to sit as kings on top the mountains of cheese.

So now skip forward twenty years or so and I am ready to pass on my childhood tradition to my kids. I copied everything to a T except I was a bit sloppy on the cracker layout given our dish style was not condusive for the proper matrix.

Afterwards I had Buddy call gramps to tell of what he had for lunch. He did but wasn’t able to convey the message it was cheese on crackers instead of cheese and crackers.

Thinking all these years this was a concoction of my dads I thought I would reassure myself and ask if it was his dish.”No” he replied “my mom used to make it when I was a kid. It’s called a Welsh Rarebit but sounds more like Welsh Rabbit.” Ah-ha I thought as the tradition deepen one more generation. COOL!

So being a little curious about this dish I Wikipedia’d it. I found that it was called the Welsh Rabbit but bad etymology led to Rarebit. Also it was know as a poormans dish, and the name is because in Wales cheese was poormans meat and in England rabbit was the poormans meat. So when you do the math it would be the Welsh poormans meat labeled as and with the English poormans meat. Somewhere in the mix the original toast got swaped out for saltines. My guess is that probably happened during the Great Depression.

This is the making of an uprising

Remember when wiretapping was listening in on somebodies telephone line or bugging their home under the scrutiny of a warrent and red tape? Well, our public servant departments across the country are now calling the recording of a public servant with a video camara “wiretapping”. Even though the crime of this new form wiretapping does not hold in court there is a drive to get everyone afraid of doing it. Let us remember the racist PIGs that beat Rodney King within an inch of his life and other case from Katrina where PIGs were literally acting as psychopaths shooting mentally retarded people. My point is that there is a growing number of police brutalities being recorded and justice can now honestly be served.

Like I have stated before and will keep saying, if our government does not stop and then start receding their power trip people will rise up and get bloody.

For an individual with a badge to treat a person as though they are committing a crime against humanity for recording with a camara displays the poor mentality of the one behind the badge. This is intimidation and will not prevail without a fight. If you are a public servant remember when you make enemies with the good everyday people you in turn are asking for retaliation. When the camels back snaps you and your families will be the first eaten by the masses. Please don’t be a public enemy.