Prepare and Pray Lesson 15: Preparation for Perilous Times

Prepare and Pray, is a family preparedness study based off the book Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss. SFR is a delightful "living" book that is rich in natural science, vocabulary, geographical details, history and physical science. It is a timeless classic with strong moral and spiritual content. We read the original version and love the rich language. The subjects we cover in our curriculum include Bible memory, Handi-work/Crafts, Life skills, Clothing, Shelter, Health, Safety and Nutrition, Natural and Physical Science, Geography and History. The discussion questions provided provoke deep discussions. And I love the Toddler Tales for the little ones.

In this lesson, we reviwed the basic requirements for “commonsense preparedness.”

We went over a basic preparedness list that included:
  • Water storage
  • Food
  • First aid supplies
  • Warmth/Light/Cooking
  • Sanitation
  • Transportation needs
  • Personal needs
  • Homeschooling resources
We also discussed food sources for long expeditions, including pemmican and even made a batch.


This was actually an activity from an earlier lesson that we didn't do. But it was mentioned again this lesson, so we thought we would give it a try. To make this, we used natural turkey jerky, nuts and berries (ground fine in the blender) and then mixed with coconut oil (rather than fat) ~ not an original recipe for sure. It tasted just like jerky, nuts and berries and everyone liked it until I refrigerated it and the coconut oil solidified.

We also talked about raising chickens for food (instead of pigeons as Mrs. Robinson did). We talked about what we could feed chickens rather than commercial feed: unground grain, bugs, table scraps, dried milk, ground egg, greens and vegetables.

The Use of Herbs

In this lesson we discussed “the use of herbs to relieve symptoms of common illnesses. Herbs do not heal, neither do foods, medicines or doctors. Only God heals.”  We feel that He has given herbs for the use of man, so we learned how to harvest and store herbs as well as how to use them. Here is what we made:

Homemade Cough Syrup

We made an infusion of echinacea, wild cherry bark and licorice root by boiling the herbs in 1 quart pure water down to 1 pint. Then we strained the herbs and added honey.  It tasted like a really strong, really sweet herbal tea. I refrigerated it and I hope we don't ever use it.


A tincture is made by soaking herbs in an alcohol or vinegar base. I was conflicted over giving a child an alcohol based tincture until a friend suggested that it could be dropped into a hot tea so the alcohol will evaporate out. The herbs are allowed to sit in the alcohol/vinegar base for 2 weeks and the jar is shaken daily. Then the herbs are strained out.

Homemade Salves

This spicy hot Warming Salve works wonderfully by warming cold toes and feet on chilly days or nights.

We used:
  • 12 g cayenne pepper
  • 1 T mustard seed
  • 1/2 T ginger powder and ginger root
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 T coconut oil
We made a double boiler by putting a small pan inside of a bigger pan and filled the bottom pan with water. Over low heat, we heated the oil and spices in the top pan and let them simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Then we strained them through a coffee filter letting it drip for several hours.

After we had the oil, we melted it with a small amount of beeswax to give it a salve consistency.

I think the color is so pretty and it works wonderfully. I put some on my cold toes to warm them up last night.


GOOT is a garlic oil salve made using garlic, olive oil and coconut oil in a 1:1:1 ratio (3 T Garlic crushed or pulverized, 3 T olive oil, and 3 T coconut oil). I blended it in the blender to make it smoother and didn't strain out the garlic pieces because they were so small, but next time I will. Because of the coconut oil in this it did firm up in the fridge. It smells so good (and garlicky).

This next activity was an idea I had after spending so much time camping this summer. First of all, I believe that good old fashioned hand washing with soap and water is the best way to keep harmful germs away. We have a hand washing station set up at our campsite that consists of a 5 gal jug of water, watered down hand soap (for easier rinsing) and a bowl for washing in. Even so, there have been times that a hand sanitizer would have come in handy. Like the time the boys caught a snake while on a hike. Snakes carry salmonella. So a hand sanitizer would have been helpful to use after they handled the snake until we could get back to camp.

I have never been fond of a commercial hand sanitizer, though, because of the harsh chemicals in them. So, I went on a hunt for the common ingredients listed on the label of a common brand.  The main one happens to be ethyl alcohol, also known as pure grain alcohol. Walmart sells it in their pharmacy - $10 for a 1 pint bottle (16 oz or 473 ml). Or you can buy Everclear at the liquor store - $14 for a 750 ml bottle (that's about 25 ounces).

From what I could find online (and on the back of the Germ X bottle), I needed at least a 62% alcohol concentration for the hand sanitizer to be effective. We figured that at 95% alcohol by volume, that if we used 75% alcohol, we would have an effective hand sanitizer.  Here is what we did:

Hand Sanitizer

We mixed:
  • 3/4 cup ethyl alcohol (this is what kills the germs)
  • 1/4 cup (less 1 T) vegetable glycerin (keeps your hands from drying out)
  • 1 T aloe vera gel (another moisturizer)
  • Few drops of jojoba oil and Thieves essential oil (scent, moisturizer and antibacterial/antiviral properties)
Using a 3/4 c. ethyl alcohol to 1/4 c. other ingredients gave us a desired ratio. We put it in a spray bottle and labeled it. From what I read, it has to take 15-30 seconds to dry to be effective. Ours passed that test with 3 quick pump sprays. After the smell of the initial alcohol whiff wore off (that stuff is strong), our hands smelled just like the essential oil we added - soft too.

Note: this stuff should not be used by children without adult supervision ~ keep out of the reach of children and read the material safety data sheet for more info. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about using this on a regular basis because our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything we put on it. I much prefer (whenever possible) to use soap and water to wash our hands with.

Clove Orange Craft

Mrs. Robinson discovered cloves - so we discussed the historic spice  trade and its role in colonization, exploration and eventual evangelization. I thought this would be a fun way to include the little ones in our study. I poked the holes in the orange and let the two little ones add the cloves (good hand eye coordination practice).  I think it smells so good!

Click here to see other lessons we have done to "Prepare and Pray" for times ahead.


  1. Awesome pics. Can I be one of your students? Thanks so much for sharing this on The Homeschool Lounge.

  2. Wonderful Post Chel! We love reading all that you do with your children....and we love using herbs too! So this gave me some ideas....LOL

  3. This is really good! I am very interested in doing this. I was interested when I read your last post. I am going to have to go back and read more.

    These are right up our alley.
    And, chickens really will eat just about anything... even in the winter, our chickens are out scratching in the snow.

    Wow... I just went and checked out the Prepare and Pray curriculum... we loved the book/movie, The Sign of the Beaver. I'll bet that one is an interesting study too. When we were getting survival videos for the children from the library, that one was on our list too.

    I am going to have to ask Matt and pray on these things... the study looks great!

    Have a blessed Sukkot, and thanks for all the great photos and information on what you all are doing!

    blessings to you and on your home~

  4. I enjoyed coming home and hearing about all of the cool things you guys were doing. The "Goot" threw me for a loop, however, when you said you made it. After asking you to repeat it the second time I became interested in what you were saying and appreciated the help in understanding it. Great job, Love, on your work!


  5. What a fabulous study! I think we will try the pemmican.

  6. What a fabulous study! I think we will try the pemmican.

  7. I'm interested in making the tincture and/or cough syrup. Will you post or send the recipes my way? Thanks!

  8.  How long does 1 bottle of the Thieves essential oil blend last? answer me please about this

  9.  Thieves was created based on research about four thieves in France who covered
    themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague
    victims. This proprietary essential oil blend was university tested for its
    cleansing abilities. It is highly effective in supporting the immune system and
    good health.