Oh those crazy preppers!!

“Oh boy Jona… don’t tell me you are one of those crazy preppers!!” – every person before they start prepping.
First, let me get started on this subject as a sane person… 😛  In 2012 a series come out on television; currently available on Netflix, called Doomsday Preppers and I watched the first few episodes and thought to myself “WOWWW! THESE RICH PEOPLE ARE NUTS!!”. Although, I must confess that I was totally intrigued that people spend thousands; sometimes millions of dollars preparing for what most preppers call “TEOTWAWKI” (The End Of The World As We Know It).  I did watch the episodes week after week and thought, what if they are onto something? I mean everyone should be prepared right?  I’ve heard stories about bunkers all my life being a history buff.  Also, bunkers are frequently mentioned on the news when people purchase a property and attempt to create a garden only to find a heavy metal cover, dig out around it and unearth a door! Surprise!! There’s a bomb shelter or bunker just below the surface! Oh, so jealous! Where‘s the bunker in JonaLand (insert sad face here).
Fast forward to the Fall of 2013 when I went through some hard times financially and mentally Just so you know in the case I crash at your house -I am a sleepwalker and heavy dreamer during the nighttime hours. Subsequently my dreams become more intense when I am stressed! Talk about craziness 👀! I had a dream that changed my life!! THE DREAM: I woke up to a news cast clearly showing submarines coming out of the water onto the beach 10 blocks from my home with loads of foreign invader pouring out of them with war time firearms and armor! I ran down from my bedroom to my first floor and my ex-stepfather was boarding up the house for me from the outside and I was in complete shock with my heart pumping out of my chest!! Next a knock at the front door – people bringing their children and infants to keep them safe – crying and thanking me… I kept bringing them to my basement which had camping cots, food and water storage. My basement and storage area were completely prepared for this. — When I finally woke up, I was dripping with sweat, and it took me a good while to calm down and assure myself by tuning on the tv that nothing was happening IN REAL LIFE. That was the turning point for me… a completely life altering dream. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I only shared it with 3 friends, and it blew their minds. Though only one family began prepping after hearing my dream I feel like it triggered me to jump right into a more sustainable lifestyle.
Ok, ok – Bear with me!! I know I’m about to sound like a CRAZY PREPPING MOMMA but I surely need you to know that there are many levels to preparedness, and you should at least do the minimum to ensure that during a crisis you and your household including pets are not going to lose your mind with panic. Prepping DEFINITELY has given me an awkward calmness when I see the news about the economy crashing or natural disaster type weather heading my way.
A quote that struck me the first time I looked up, “prepping for a disaster” was:

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

I was hit with SOOOOOO much info from Google and Pinterest that it actually gave me a good amount of anxiety reading all of the scenarios I could possibly prepare for! One lonely night, cold sleepless night I decided to sift through a few well written articles and find out where to start.  As I read, I thought to myself —> INTO THE RABBIT HOLE I GO… These scenarios listed below are what I found to be very broad but put a lot into perceptive for me personally.

  • Family disruption or family disturbance – a stressful time in an individual’s life when they experience a breakdown or disruption in their usual or normal daily activities or family functioning
  • Natural disasters – flooding, tornadoes, weather-related incidents, fires, or any incident that is created by a weather disaster
  • Economic changes – loss of a job, medical bills, theft of a purse or cash, or utilities being shut off
  • Community resources – a lack of housing resources, food resources, or inadequate crime protection
  • Life events – the birth of a child, loss of a loved one, a child moving out, an irrational child, or any disturbance to daily activities
After reading more and more info night after night I decided that I would prepare in a general manner with telling myself “Preparedness can never truly be accomplish but can be worked at until you meet small goals.” What do you think you can NOT handle I thought to myself…? Well, I can definitely handle being broke as hell, been there done that. I can definitely handle being without electricity, been there been that I can definitely handle an economic crisis on a national level because I already know money doesn’t matter much when the world around you goes to crap. What I definitely could NOT handle would be not having food and water for both my family, which at the time was just me and my daughter, and my dog. So that’s where I started.
Every time we drank a gallon of iced tea or bottled water I would rinse it well, let it air dry and refill it all the way to the top leaving no air, put the fill date on it and put it on a a shelving unit in the basement. Then I wrote down a list of things that we actually eat that I would always want to have in bulk. That list included rice, instant potatoes, pasta, Ramen noodles, all kinds of dried beans and lentils and lots and lots of spices. Large cans of vegetable soups and tomato sauces. I learned that sugar, salt and honey really don’t have an expiration date if you keep it in airtight containers. I figured out that I would need so much water per day for my family in a gallon or two per day for my dog. And let’s not forget the water that we would need for hygiene and possibly for manually flushing the toilets!! There’s so much more to the story but I have an always changing list that I have created from many different sources.
I also learned quickly that there are BUG IN and BUG OUT situations. Bug in meaning you hunker down at your home and bug out meaning you are hitting the road and you may be headed to a place to make temporary shelter or a designated bug out location. I will talk more about this in another blog.
Below is a list of 100 things that disappear rapidly during a National Crisis… primarily for bugging in. This isn’t including food and water.
THE QUESTION: about what percentage do you think you have on hand if it was a Bug In situation??

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy…target of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Oil Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. ***Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots. ***
8. Hand crank can openers, & hand eggbeaters, whisks, kitchen utensils.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY – note – food grade if for drinking.
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.)
17. Survival Guidebook.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cook Stoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinders and Handle-Holders (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible to Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {“Strike Anywhere” preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Heavy Duty Work Boots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)
49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags& blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
79. Woolen clothing: socks, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & utility carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress’s
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes (for
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin Wax
96. Chickens
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs (bandanas)
100. Livestock

All you can do is YOUR BEST! I purchase a “prep” or two a month. Some months I spend $10 some months up to $100.

Best advice I can give is to keep accurate lists of anything you are storing. Be sure to read about rotating your food storage so that you are not letting anything go to waste by expiring and also keeping food sealed properly.

P.s. I am an administrator on Facebook for Connecticut Preppers Network. If you are Facebook you can find a prepper network for your State or area. In America we have a national website: http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/

Happy prepping! I hope I’ve had an impact on your thoughts on THOSE CRAZY PREPPERS!

-Jona Marie

📸 You can do it 💪🏽

Breaking up is hard to do – – dairy chronicles

….So here I am standing in my dining room, speaking into the Iphone microphone to tell you what’s on my mind as I fold two loads of laundry. At this very moment, it’s two weeks from my 37th birthday! I can tell you that I am totally looking and feeling better than I have in 20 years!! On August 21, 2019 I will be dairy-free for THREE years. Let’s say it’s my 3rd anniversary of being weaned off the cows teat. (insert grossed out face here).

Let’s flashback to my bEARTHday celebration in 2016 – taking a trip down memory lane to the summer of 2016. A critical and life changing event leading to the last time that I purposely consumed dairy. Simply speaking dairy includes yogurt, milk, creamer, cheese, ice cream, heavy dressings and dips.

So the story begins!!! It was a sticky icky, hot, humid, blood, sweat and tears type of summer day in the mountains of Sharon Springs, NY. I was on a mission! Shannon Theresa, my little sister (with her 1 1/2 year old toddler) and my stepmother needed a hand moving from one house Upstate in the wide-open countryside to a quaint little town farther down off the mountain into a more urban area and closer to Connecticut. The move itself made my heart smile. To top it off I was hanging with my sissy, it was my birthday weekend, no other place I had rather be at the moment. You know, besides sitting under a rainbow umbrella, lakeside with my feet in the water… *wink wink. My very grateful stepmother showed her gratitude by ordering two large pizzas, buffalo wings with a antipasto salad. I was very grateful for the big meal to share with my family. We had spent all day moving from one house into another. Tired yet humbled I sat down to eat a pretty groovy plate full of flavorful food knowing that my tummy would soon be turning and churning from the cheese on the pizza and hot wings smothered in blue cheese. My plan was to stuff my face, hang out late night, get a good night’s sleep and head home at the crack of dawn. Let’s just say that that didn’t go as planned. Ok, it didn’t go well at all. Sigh. I literally was sick within roughly ten minutes of my first serving of food. I immediately felt my stomach extend. My jeans felt like they needed to be unbuttoned. Uh oh…. First thought at that very moment: use the bathroom, quietly wash my hands, kiss the family goodbye and drive like an NYC taxi driver back to my home in southwestern Connecticut. Again, all was not OK. I felt so ill I wasn’t sure if I was going to vomit or go back in the bathroom and explode from the gas build up (tmi- sorry, eww, I know). The plan was very calculated. Than carried it out flawlessly.

Finally, I made it home -Praise The Most High! Boom, crashed and landed in the second floor bathroom. Not a fun ride home in total discomfort or agonizing walk to the second floor with my 137 pound rottweiler trailing beside me in excitement to see me! I ended up curled in a ball on my bed for hours with the worst stomach pain ever… it was a year of having pretty bad reactions to dairy but never like this time.

At this time in my life I had only been dating my former husband, for one week. I called him to let him know I was home from my journey in the mountains. After talking about my completed mission of moving an entire house; I nonchalantly mentioned how I having pain worst than my 17 hours of childbirth back in 2004 and didn’t know how I made it home. Hey, here’s to being transparent (cheers)! I left no detail untouched. He had been lactose intolerant for many years (he was living as a vegetarian for a few years) and said he knew the feeling all too well. Then, the sad sad sad moment that I realized I knew the next truthful statement that was going to come out of his mouth, “you know it’s only gonna get worse”. My eyes opened in pure fear as I thought OUCH!! My reply was “I’m never eating or drinking dairy again, ever.”

That afternoon, I broke up my hot and heavy romance with dairy. Me, Jona, the woman eating double slices of cheese on my morning egg sandwich, a yogurt on my break, shredded aged cheddar or feta on my lunch time salad, parmesan cheese on my pasta and chicken for dinner, frozen yogurt for dessert every night and steaming hot coffee with heavy cream as I read books until I fell asleep, was no longer in a relationship with dairy.

The break up was excruciating!! What the heck do I now I thought over and over as a few days passed… I started looking at plant based m!lks, plant based cheez and coconut based yogurts. Wowwww, a whole new worrrrld! A new fantastic point of view. No one to tell us no or where to go… sorry, I starting singing. Oops 🙂 but seriously – I was absolutely amazed at the selections there was to choose from.

By Christmas week I was a professional at saying “NO” to all dairy. I weighed myself Christmas morning and realized I had lost 17 pounds. My weight when I started dating him was 172 pounds. [Just for reference I’m 5′ 2″] That’s 17 pounds from August 21 to December 25. I was absolutely shocked! I knew I had lost weight because my clothes were a little looser. But I had no idea of the actual pounds shed just by making the permanent choice of eliminating dairy.

The moral of the story is that I can’t believe all the damage I was doing to my body just because I liked the taste dairy products. Don’t be like me, suffering, “eating it anyways” or having unnecessary weight that causes joint pain or just plain discomfort.

Make the switch!! You can find more info on my Facebook group:

Become a healthier version of YOURSELF


Ditch dairy, you won’t be disappointedly the results!


Ex-Cheese Addict,

Jona Marie

📸 In my kitchen … Ripple chocolate m!lk made with peas and my Connecticut area code glass.

From bloody roast beef and swiss cheese sandwiches to vegan overnight… 1,2….3

Oh, the things I have eaten that you may never taste or think to taste!! How do I even start to explain this list?! I’m born and raised in the Northeast; United States and I was well vacationed in the Caribbean and Mexico as a youth with my family.  Let’s begin – I’ve eaten and enjoyed black bear, elk, moose, raccoon, squirrel, snake, duck, goose, iguana, frog legs, shark, gator, deer, lamb, goat, ostrich eggs, quail eggs, guinea pig, wild boar, rabbit, mahi-mahi (dolphin-fish), almost every salt and fresh water fish, eel, shellfish and then all the American chosen three – pig, cow and chicken (and chicken eggs)… and God knows what I didn’t eat from the local Chinese food places here in our big city! [Inserted gagging sound effect here].

I literally went from eating savory sesame seed topped hard rolls stuffed full of bloody roast beef, Swiss cheese, horseradish, mayo, lettuce and tomato sandwiches to being a hardcore vegan. I don’t regret being a fisherman or hunter because I used the harvest to feed myself, family and friends. I also didn’t know that I could survive without meat, dairy and animal by-products.  BUT I can painfully say, honestly, wish I went vegan 20+ years earlier for the animals and my health.

You may think; WOW that’s wild!! Well, it really is! The end summer of 2016 I started dating a man who is now my former husband; he was dairy free and vegetarian.  As we started hanging out more and more, he actually started eating small portions of chicken/turkey I would make dinner for my daughter, him and I.  Overall, I was o.k. with him not eating the meat part of the dinner I prepared but I guess it smelled amazing enough for him to want to eat it right along with us.  I’m a pretty good cook after all. *wink*wink.  By early November I started making meatless meals every other day.

…. here comes the push, tug and battle!!! I started using Pinterest to look up “dairy-free and meatless” meals. The more I search the results were amazing – I was completely floored by the delicious recipes and stories about plant living!! Then there was the post that shook me right to the core. Animal Rights Activist exposing abuse at chicken meat factory. I watched the 3-minute video with tears in my eyes. I scrolled up a few inches and saw a pin of the egg industry; it was how chicken got on your plate IN REVERSE. From the dinner table to the chicken growers (yes, it’s a thing) and I decided once and for all to take off my rose color glasses and see the truth. Over and over again my heart was ripped out of my chest (I was sure I didn’t want it inside me anymore because I couldn’t take the emotions that came with it) as I watched a few documentaries on the “American meat and dairy industry”.  I became very very intrigued and disgusted with the thought that not only were the animals raised in awful condition but also tortured as they make the journey to slaughter.   TRUST me I tried to just keep scrolling but the screen couldn’t move fast enough.  There I went down the proverbial rabbit hole!!  Secretly, for many years I felt bad about serving meats knowing that it was the same animals I was petting at the local sanctuaries, nature centers and farms.  Suddenly, almost overnight the connection was there that made it come all together…  The studies of plant-based diet and animal suffrage were enough to not put meat of animal by-products on my plate Christmas Dinner 2016.

BOOM!! A vegan was born. I will definitely talk about my health before and after my lifestyle change on a future blog.

P.s. Thank you for spending time with me,

Sincerely, The Ex-carnivore,

Jona Marie


Discovering minimalism and simplicity…

These two words are major components in my life and totally go hand-in-hand.

Flashback into 2013, age 31 I had a big health scare!! I was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. It was my third Pap smear (annual preventative testing for the female reproductive organs) that came back irregular and had to be handled with a medical procedure. Unfortunately, in the same month I had just gone through a two-year relationship that ended in a breakup; not just my heart but my daughter’s being that she was at the tender age of 9.

This storm in my life rattled my very soul. I had to have surgery while under anesthesia. I had to clean up and remove everything that reminded me and my daughter of this person that walked out of our lives. Even though I was suffering both physically and mentally I had to begin to heal not only my heart but my daughter’s heart also.

I begin to search online on how to unclutter my mind. Ooooh my gosh did Pinterest set off a spark that lit the fire and opened me up to a world I have never known having grown up both my mom and stepdad being boarder line hoarders. Seeing post after post on decluttering and simplification of belongings, living with less, anti-consumerism, simply having less to maintain and all balled up with simpler parenting methods. Ahhhhh!! Eureka!! Where has this gold mine of information been all my life?!? Night after night after my daughter was ticked safely into her bed, I began reading for hours about how to achieve this picture in my head of how I wanted my home, my sanctuary from the world, to be. Down into the rabbit hole I fell… not knowing where it would lead me- but trusting the calmness the theory brought to my heart and soul.

Minimalism, at least in the home, is living with only the things that you need and love. Not just the necessities but also items that make your life comfy. Also meant getting rid of so much stuff. I started to look for books on the minimalist lifestyle and I found a book by Marie Kondo. I read this book for an hour every night. It took a few nights to get through and I thought should I read it again or just get on with her methods and put them to work. Just for reference Marie Kondo is a Japanese organization consultant and author of four popular books. “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up” was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Kondo has also been named one of Time Magazines 100 Most Influential People.

When the weekend arrived, I thought to myself where do I start? I grabbed the book I had read, and Kondo gave precise instructions on starting with every piece of clothing that I own. How overwhelming! I got it all done in three hours. This sorting of every piece of clothing and pairs shoes that I owned ended in having eight black contractor bags to be dropped off at my local secondhand store and the rest of my stuff had to be folded in a specific way to fit in my drawers and closet all to be seen that one glance. I also cut up the 5 items that were not in good enough condition to be used a household cleaning rags. I can tell you this… This first journey into minimalism was a big eye-opener! In the end I had only kept 10 pairs of pants, 15 shirts, 3 well-fitting dresses and 8 hooded sweatshirts.

All I can say is WOW!! This process also continued with my daughter’s clothes and footwear. Much to my surprise she was awesome in learning the process and carrying out the job at hand.

The Weekend came and went, and we were exhausted! Her and I both loved the outcome of having absolutely conquered going through this process according to this precious; yet powerful, little book that I found.

As I went through the steps in the book or a whole house transformed within one month. It was a great distraction and bonding for both my daughter and me. All of a sudden, my life got a little simpler. And I couldn’t be happier with this journey. As I went through the steps in the book or a whole house transformed within one month. It was a great distraction and bonding for both my daughter and me. All of a sudden, my life got a little simpler. And I couldn’t be happier with this journey of minimizing and realizing what we really need to be joyful and comfortable in our home.

It now being 2019; we now do a major decluttering a few times a year because some house stuff just slips into the home. [Insert laugh here because I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about]!

Long story short learning to live a more minimalistic lifestyle and having a home that looks like a scene out of a simple living magazine has not only healed some very big wounds but also became a major part in learning to move on and rebuild. I couldn’t be happier that I took the time to read that little book.

I do suggest picking up Marie Kondo’s best-selling book and doing things exactly how she says because her methods have proven not only for our family but for many other people also- to be very life-changing. And lucky you; it’s 2019 and Kondo has a small video series on Netflix called “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”.

I promise you will not be dismayed with the process and setting the goal of living a more minimalistic life.


the child of acute hoarders,

Jona Marie

📸 …my uncluttered little kitchen 🍴

A little look into Jona Land

OK so here I am, one month shy 37 years old, wife, mother of a teen, with two rambunctious dogs, working 37 1/2 hours a week, keeping a functional household and trying to live a very simple life in a big city.

If I had to summarize myself in very short terms I would say that I am a loving wife, prayerful mom, minimalist, prepper, very low-waste, low toxins, healthy living coach, breastfeeding advocate, expert in decluttering and organization, impromptu animal rescuer, pro-choice for vaccinations and I stand tall and proud for what I believe in all the while respecting other families ways of living. These things all come together and make my life simply easier to focus on what matters.

I’m happy to share all of the aspects of my life and be very transparent as I start this blogging journey.

Interesting, maybe? Soon I will be uploading a break down of why and how I live like I do. It’s not always easy to live simple but it’s always worth it.

-Simply me,

Jona Marie

📸 June 29, 2019 @7am at my ma’s house in Lakeland, Florida, USA