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Survival in a Broken World: Can You Hack It?

Government offices are shutting down. Schools are closed to millions of children. Major corporations are working from home and some people have lost their jobs altogether. What’s your plan for survival in a broken world?Survival in a Broken World - Can You Hack It | Food Life Design

Let me just start by saying, How Are You? I hope that wherever you are you’re safe and well! Just a few weeks ago, I would never have imagined that we’d be living in such a broken world here.

In the United States.

The greatest country in the world…

And yet, here we are…scrambling for basic things such as toilet paper, medicine and food.

Food, people!

How can we, the American people, be fighting for food?

Why is it that our hospitals are begging for medical supplies?

What happened to us being the most powerful country in the world?!

It’s A Whole New World

I never thought we’d live in times like these.

But, now that we are, I realize that I’ve been preparing for this moment my entire life.

Even as a little girl, I always told my mother that I should have been born in an earlier time. Today’s world moves too fast for me and honestly, I could do without it all.

The idea of a slower paced life, with my husband and children safe and sound on the homestead, has always appealed to me.

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I’m not afraid of hard work and the thought of cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, farming and living to live, 24 hours a day, doesn’t bother me one bit.

In fact, it entices me.

But, what does scare me, is watching the world around us crash down, one piece at a time…

It’s watching our politicians go at each other on a daily basis, instead of coming together to create a better place for the people as they promised to do.

Seeing empty shelves at the grocery store because some people think they are entitled to the entire supply.

Watching medical professionals from around the world having to make the choice between an elderly patient and a child.

And watching thousands of people around the world die from this unknown evil.

It’s disgusting and it’s heart-wrenching to see what has happened to this world in just a matter of months.

At this rate, where will we be in a year? Honestly, it’s really scary to think about it.

And so, I’m not going to think about it.

In fact, I’m going to concentrate my time on my family, growing my garden, my little business and helping YOU navigate this broken world we’re now living in.

Share Your Knowledge…It Could Save Someone’s Life

“Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.” ~ Dalai Lama

It’s totally understandable that you might be feeling afraid and of course, uncertain about where this is all headed. I think we all feel that way!

But, we have to pull together.

We HUMANS are better than this!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adding more and more articles to help YOU get through this crazy time in our lives.

Since, I’ve been lucky enough to have been taught so many amazing “life” skills from The Greatest Generation, I feel like it’s really important to share them with you, especially at this particular time.

It’s significant that WE ALL share any and all information that we can to help others during this crisis in our world!

“Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.” ~ Benjamin Spock

And while you might think that pickling cucumbers from your summer garden is a “normal” thing that everyone does…you’d be wrong. Many people don’t know how to do this!

You might throw together your own pancake mix every Sunday morning, but most people today just buy a boxed mix (or worse yet, frozen pancakes!) from the grocery store. You know the one that doesn’t have any, right now?!

Maybe you make your own laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent, but most people just pick up a bottle at the store…

TEACH THEM how to make their own!

Everyone will have to make sacrifices right now and giving up premade, prepackaged products is going to be one of those sacrifices for many people.

That’s why it is so important to share your knowledge right now!

Teach others how to be more self-sufficient. Show them how many things they can really make at home!

No matter how simple it may seem to you, there is someone out there who does not know how to do what you are doing right now.

Help Your Fellow Human!

And on that note…below I’ve given a little outline of how we’re surviving in this new broken world, with lots of links to recipes and posts that I hope will help you during this difficult time

How We’re Hacking This New World

Way back in 2001, when we first got married and bought our own home, I made the decision that it would always be filled with food.

Before anything else gets paid, with the single exception of our mortgage, I buy food.

And while many people might think that’s the wrong order, I disagree.

What were you taught in kindergarten, my friends?

The order of survival is…

  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food

Why do you suppose it’s in that order?

Because #1, you need shelter from the environment in order to survive. Whether it’s a stick built house or a cave in the forest.

#2, you can live for many days without food, as long as you keep your body hydrated. Water is life.

And of course, #3, food, you need food for energy. Without it, you cannot complete any other tasks to survive.

Luckily, both my husband and myself are handy with a hammer and can build just about anything we could ever need…using whatever materials we might be able to get our hands on.

We’re lucky enough to have always lived in a rural location in the Northeast and therefore have always had water freely available. Whether our water has come from a well or a spring, I’ve never paid a water bill in my life. And I don’t intend to.

However, I realize that you might live in a town or city that provides water through a community system, in which case, your water bill should be paid before you buy food. And you should buy water, too! Just in case your local water system goes down.

After shelter and water, comes food.

Be Prepared

My pantry is always stockpiled with at least a couple of weeks worth of canned goods, dry goods and basic household supplies. And yes, that includes toilet paper.

For years, I’ve used coupons, shopped the weekly grocery flyer and purchased multiples of items when they were on sale. It’s just in my nature to stockpile.

And while I do have that small stockpile on hand, it doesn’t encompass everything that we buy from week to week.

I DID go grocery shopping this past week to add some standard ingredient items to that stockpile in the case that we are forced to stay home for awhile.

Unfortunately, I was unable to purchase many of the items that I would normally buy…

Make Your Own

Luckily, I’ll be able to make a lot of my own substitutes because I have TONS of old cookbooks on my shelves.

But, for those of you that don’t have a zillion cookbooks laying around, check out Recipe Goldmine, or Budget 101, between them, there are literally thousands of recipes that should help you get started!

They even have recipes for condiments, homemade spice mixes and seasonings.

Another handy website is Hillbilly Housewife. She offers TONS of “made from scratch” recipes that always use super simple ingredients.

Be sure to print out or write the recipes down so that they’re always handy…even in a power or internet outage!

Homemade Bread Recipes

When I was shopping, one of the products that seemed to be missing from the store was bread. And I don’t really understand that one!

Homemade bread is SO EASY to make and it requires so few ingredients that it just makes more sense to make your own, anyway!

But if you don’t know how or you just don’t have a good recipe, here’s some of my favorite homemade bread recipes…

Knowing how to prepare your own food from basic ingredients is absolutely essential in a broken world!

You never know when your local grocery store is going to run out of chicken nuggets!

Doodles Magnetic Daily Menu Planner Notepad | VLHamlinDesign

Create a Menu Plan

Despite the fact that I no longer post menu plans here on the blog, I still feel as strongly as ever that if you want to save money on your food and stretch it out as far as possible, then, you need to plan your meals. It’s really that simple.

Except, at this point, instead of going to the grocery store to buy the things you’ll need, you have to plan the menu from the items you already have available at home.

In which case…

Keep Inventory Of Your Supply

Without the guarantee of getting to the grocery store in a few days, it’s really important to keep inventory of the food supply you have on hand. In order to create healthy meals for your family from your stockpile, you can’t just use up random ingredients for random meals.

Otherwise, you might end up with nothing but a can of tuna and a box of baking soda in the pantry! Now, that would be a tragedy!

Take the time to write down everything that is in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer! Just jot it down on a sheet of notebook paper or use my free printable inventory list below, then, as you use up each item, you can just cross it off the list.

Free Printable Inventory List | Food Life DesignGet my free printable pantry inventory list here!

Plant a Garden

During WWII, the people left at home created Victory Gardens throughout the United States.

These gardens not only provided their families with extra food, but it also helped to create a sense of comfort and “normalcy” in communities throughout the country.


Take this “surprise” time off from the world and plant a garden.

Teach your children to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Not only will it help provide your family with some extra nutrients during this time, but it will also create lasting memories for your kiddos!

How to Start a Vegetable Garden Indoors 2

No extra money to buy garden supplies? Learn how you can get Free Food From Your Garbage in this post that outlines all the fruits and vegetables you can “regrow”!

How to Grow Strawberries | Food Life Design

Learn how to grow your own strawberries here!

I’ve already started planting my seeds indoors for annual fruits and vegetables, but it will still be several weeks before we can put them in the ground here in Vermont.

Praying summer weather gets here early!

Preserve your fresh fruits and vegetables

Thanks to my Gram, I know how to can and preserve all kinds of things. And while, I’ve already shared a bunch of recipes here on the blog for crushed tomatoes, pumpkin puree, pickles and jellies, I hope to add a ton more this summer!

In the meantime, Ball Canning offers a great tutorial on getting started. Plus they have a whole bunch of recipes, too!

How to Can Crushed Tomatoes at Home - Quarts and Pints

I should also point out that my husband hunts, so we are usually lucky enough to have wild game in the freezer, in addition to store purchased meat.

And yes, while I choose not to do it regularly, I do know how to hunt and butcher a deer, a turkey and even a bear, too..if I have to. Plus, of course, I know how to cook it! 


After shelter, water and food, should probably come heat. We live in central Vermont and it gets really cold here in the winter!

Luckily, we have multiple wood heat sources in our house. Plus, we’re surrounded by forest in case we need more wood. 

If you don’t have that ability, then paying for your fuel oil or heat source should absolutely be #4 on your survival bills list.

No way to pay for heat? Here’s some ideas on How to Stay Warm in Winter Without Heat from Pampered Chicken Mama

Lemon Balm Tincture


I’ve studied herbal medicine, independently, for about 15 years and I feel confident in my ability to remedy simple issues for myself and my family. We rarely go to the doctor and are almost never sick.

My husband is certified in CPR and First Aid, as is my oldest daughter. And once upon a time, I was too. I have since let my certification expire…not a good choice!

My garden is packed full of perennial medicinal herbs, like lemon balm, arnica, peppermint, echinacea, lavender (and more!), just waiting for a peek at the sunshine.

Interested in learning more about herbal medicine? Here’s some of my favorite FREE resources:

And I’ll bet many other GenXer’s out there feel the same way we do!

WE are prepared…we were raised by June Cleaver, Alice from the Brady Bunch, Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls Wilder, for crying out loud!

Survival in a Broken World - Are You Prepared | Food Life Design


All that time spent with Grandma and Grandpa as children, prepared us for this very moment.

There’s no reason to be afraid, they taught us everything we know. Many of them survived WWII, the Great Depression, the Korean War and so much more than we can imagine!

And we too, will survive.

Armed with the knowledge that they left behind, the information we have gained and the ingenuity of our generation…we will survive this new broken world.

Be sure to signup for my daily newsletter to receive updates on this subject, along with free printables, easy dinner ideas, recipes, home business tips and so much more right in your inbox!

Have a Spectacular Day!

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