May 22, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - May Week 3

This week for our Preparedness Challenge, we'll be gathering a few BBQ spices from your favorite store, and some dehydrated onions from the LDS Home Storage Center. We are fortunate again that they are on sale.

Gathering items for emergencies isn't about buying stuff. It's about listening to the counsel of generations of LDS Church leaders.

Imagine a neighborhood where each home is self-reliant and prepared for emergencies. During a disaster there is less need to borrow from each other and we are better able to assist in the recovery effort.

But also imagine a neighborhood where people have that "someday I'll get to it" attitude. Now that's a disaster in and of itself. So, be different. Perhaps a peculiar people.

"Church members are conscious of the fact that they live in a period of calamities, caused both by human actions and the furies of nature. The prophecies about the last days are unequivocal, and there is great wisdom in preparing for the future—whether it be for possible famine, disaster, financial depression, or any other unforeseen adverse circumstance."

"Church leaders have frequently counseled members to practice provident living by establishing home storage, including extra water, basic food items, medications, clothing, and other supplies that could be needed in case of emergency." Bishop Gérald Caussé, March 2, 2018

So, add a little spice to your life. Here are a few ideas.

During the summer, many people BBQ. Consider keeping your favorite spices on hand. One of our favorites is McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning currently on sale for $4.88 at Sam's Club until June 2nd. It's 29 ounces large. An amazing deal! We aso use it on Sunday roasts.

You can use them everyday, or store them long-term for times when they may not be available. A 2.1 lb. can of dehydrated onions from the LDS Home Storage Center has a 30-year shelf life. Currently it's on sale for $6.75, regularly $8.00. Cheaper than Costco or Sam's Club! Whenever I don't use fresh, I use LDS dehydrated onions. If the can is too large for your family, divide it with a friend.

You CAN do it! One bag, box or can at a time.

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

"And I will also be your light in the wilderness; 
and I will prepare the way before you, 
if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments." 
1 Nephi 17

May 7, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - May Week 2

During the month of May, many condiments, sauces and spices go on sale in preparation for summer barbecues and family gatherings. Take advantage of those sales and stock up for the Preparedness Challenge: May Week 2.

1. Clean Out & Inventory Condiments

  • Look in your refrigerator and pull out all the condiments you normally use. 
  • Write down what you use on the inventory list in your binder. 
  • Toss any expired condiments.
  • Clean your refrigerator shelves. 
  • Put useable items back in your refrigerator.
  • Next, take an inventory of unopened condiments in your cupboards.  
  • Pull all condiments out.
  • Wipe down that shelf. 
  • Put items back on your shelf.

2. Buy a 3 to 12 Month Supply of Condiments

  • Be reasonable. No one needs 24 bottles of ketchup on the wall. Personally, I keep one condiment item in the refrigerator and one on the shelf. And more of a few items.
  • Buy items such ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles, mayonnaise, steak sauce, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressings and vinegar. 
  • I've found my best deals at the grocery store when I combine sales and coupons or when I buy store brand items. However, there are some condiments on sale in the May 8th Sam's Club Savings Book. And Costco has similar deals.
  • Heinz Picnic 4 pack (2 ketchups, 1 relish and 1 mustard) $2.00 off. 
  • Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing 2 pk. 40 oz. ea. $2.00 off. 
  • Best Foods Mayonnaise 3 pk. 25 oz. ea. $2.00 off. 
  • A-1 Steak Sauce 2 pk. 15 oz. ea. $1.00 off
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 2 pk. 20 oz. ea. $1.00 off
  • Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce 2 pk. 40 oz. ea. $1.00 off
  • And new Heinz MayoChup (known as Fry Sauce in Utah) 2 pk. 19 oz. ea. is $4.98
3. Research The Shelf-Life of Your Condiments
How long condiments last when opened is usually less time than you think. So, take a few minutes to go to the website Enter an item such as mayonnaise in the search box and find out how long is lasts on your shelf and when opened. I may surprise you.

And do you know which foods you should throw away in your refrigerator after a power outage? Go to the website and review the items you should throw away. It may surprise you.

Best wishes on preparing this month,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

May Preparedness Challenges
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

May 3, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - May Week 1

Last month was super busy for me, so I'm excited to share our May Preparedness Challenges. This month we will gather cooking supplies into our 72-hour kits, gather condiments and spices and practice outdoor cooking.

No one ever thinks how they will cook after a disaster, but after a disaster your stove may not work, and you probably won't have power for that microwave oven.

I'm not an expert in this area, so I try to keep it simple by imagining the aftermath of a disaster. Let's pretend my disaster was a major earthquake. After coming out from beneath my kitchen table, and checking on my family members, check on our neighbors. I woudn't even be thinking about food.

After getting people better situated and cared for medically, we realize we haven't eaten in four hours. The refrigerator has been off for a long time, and it's unlikely it will be turned on for weeks. So, how do we prepare food?

Gas ONE New GS-3400P Dual Fuel Portable Propane and Butane Camping and Backpacking Gas Stove Burner with Carrying Case

1. Decide How You Will Cook After a Disaster
Personally, I would not cook anything and eat our small canned foods that require no refrigeration such as PB & honey sandwiches, canned fruit and fresh fruit. Eventually we will have to heat up some stew. One idea is using a simple one-burner gas butane stove. So, we turn it on and heat up our canned stew. Yum! That stew never tasted so good.

Oher options:
  • Small camp stove in our 72-hour bags
  • Propane barbeque with the single burner on the side. 
  • Use firewood and coal last since they would use up valuable fuel that could keep you warm.
How will you boil water and keep it warm? A camping tea kettle is perfect for that. You'll need boiled water for your oatmeal and your hot cocoa tomorrow. You may even need to boil water for medicinal needs. Lots of things to consider with your imagination. Keep your cooking items together to make it simpler to find. Here is a sample, but I'm no expert.

Overmont Camping Kettle

2. Gather Emergency Cooking Supplies
May is a great month to start watching for sales on cooking supplies. Don't feel you have to run out and buy anything.

Possible cooking supply options:
  • camp stove
  • camp stove fuel
  • Dutch oven and supplies
  • Single burner-camp stove
  • matches
  • lighter
72-hour kit Ideas:
  • camping can opener
  • mess kit
  • eating utensils
  • matches or lighter
  • mini stove and fuel
I hope you can decide what cooking items work best for your family.

Best wishes,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

May Preparedness Challenges
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

April 17, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - April Week 2

Making a sanitation cleanup kit and studying emergency toilets is the focus of Preparedness Challenge - April Week 2. As we've observed many disasters over the years, it's apparent that keeping your home well-stocked with sanitation supplies is imperative. Germs and bacteria can kill us.

However, that does not mean you have to go overboard. As we pray for inspiration, the thought comes to be vigilant, but not excessive. We see too much "end of the world" prepping these days, and that is NOT how members of the LDS Church approach preparedness. So, with wisdom and prayer, consider what sanitation supplies you want to gather this week or this month.

1. Make a Sanitation Cleanup Kit
When the LDS Church asks volunteers to go to an area for clean up, they typically send supplies in a cleaning kit to assist in the cleanup, and to protect workers from bacteria and germs. 

Everyday disasters also occur in our lives such as the dreaded overflowing toilet or the flooded basement. Consider what items generally work for you and be grateful you have them for a major disaster when running to the store is NOT an option.

You probably have many of these items already and could keep them grouped together on a shelf so you don't have to run all over your home in search of them. Or keep them in a bucket.
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Rubber gloves (2 pairs)
  • Trash bags (25)
  • Cleaning rags (2)
  • Dust masks (not N95)
  • Bar of soap
  • Liquid dish soap
  • General-purpose cleaner
  • Liquid bleach 64 oz.
  • Powdered cleanser 14 oz.
  • Large sponge
  • Safety goggles
  • Long-handled scrub brush
  • Scrub brushes, iron-shaped (2)
  • Spray bottle (1 quart)
*Information from the LDS Emergency Response Supply Order Form

2. Study Emergency Toilets
In many parts of the world, a flushing toilet is never an option. Here in the U.S. we've been very blessed. However, we should be prepared for times when we can't use the toilet. Knowledge is key. 

This article gives a quick overview of how to make your own portable toilet.

Food Storage Moms You Need to Make Your Own Portable Emergency Toilet

Food Storage Moms

I hope you understand that sanitation is super important after a disaster and find ways to become better prepared.

Best wishes on this week's preparedness challenge,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Preparedness Challenge - April Week 2 printable

April Preparedness Challenges
Week 1
Week 2

April 9, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - April Week 1

This month our Preparedness Challenge focuses on gathering pasta and tomato products for food storage, and sanitation supplies for our home supplies and grab and go 72-hour kits. This week we'll gather a 3-month supply of pasta and tomato items. 

We enjoyed an amazing weekend of the LDS General Conference, and with that spiritual boost we can accomplish anything.

Having a category of items to gather keeps it on your mind when you grocery shop throughout the month. I've found this to be the easiest way to gather food storage and emergency supplies.

With the recent flooding in the Midwest, I've decided to add more beef items to my freezer this month too while prices are still low.

1. Decide How Much Pasta and Tomato Products To Store in a 3-month Supply

Look in your pantry and make a list of any tomato or pasta products you already have. These are probably the ones you usually use because most people have extra. 

Do you have enough? Or would having a few more cans be better? 

It may help to think of recipes you cook: spaghetti, sloppy joes, taco soup, pizza, tomato basil soup, Ziti bake, etc. 

Here are some storage tips. Most shelf pasta has a 3-year shelf life, but according to Eat By Date "Dried pasta will last for 1-2 years beyond a 'best by' date." Store in a cool, dry place. Keep package tightly closed.

Canned or jarred tomato products have a a shorter shelf-life than most canned food. They are acidic and have an 18-24 month shelf-life according to Discard all tomato products "from cans or packages that are leaking, rusting, bulging or severely dented."

2. Gather a 3-Month Supply of Pasta and Tomato Products

These are your every day pantry foods, NOT long-term food storage. Here is a sample of items you may want to gather:
• tomato puree
• diced tomatoes
• whole tomatoes
• tomato sauce
• tomato paste
• salsa
• tomato soup
• spaghetti sauce
• spaghetti, angel hair pasta, etc.

Heads up! Check your Smith's Kroger ad. American Beauty pasta goes on sale starting Wednesday for $0.49 a package. My favorite sale of the year!!

I hope this gives you an idea of what to gather this month. These products are a huge part of my food storage, and may be a part of yours as well.

Best wishes,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Preparedness Challenge - April  2019: Week 1 Printable

April Preparedness Challenges
Week 1
Week 2

March 27, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - March Week 4

This week for our Preparedness Challenge, we’ll gather first aid supplies into our grab and go 72-hour kits. Thankfully this won’t take you long to accomplish.

Everyone imagines evacuating in their cars. I imagine going on foot as roads may be too congested with vehicles. From home I imagine going to the LDS church close by, or our larger LDS stake center. Some of you would walk to a school or other community center.

If you had to evacuate quickly, and some family members had minor injuries, you may not have time to use your regular first aid supplies. So, put some useful items in your kit.

Good thing you have some water bottles in your pack from Preparedness Challenge January Week 1, so you can cleanse a wound.

Here are a few ideas for about $6.00 for the dollar store.

1. Gather First Aid Items Into Your Grab and Go Kit
  • $1.00 Bandana. Could be used as a large bandage, head wrap, hand protection, foot wrap, etc.  Find at a dollar store typically in a 2-pk.
  • $1.00 Travel first aid kit with bandages, alcohol wipes and tweezers. Make your own from items you already have at home and perhaps purchase alcohol prep pads at a dollar store.
  • $1.00 Mini Sewing kit. Needle, thread, thimble, safety pins, etc. Find at a dollar store.
  • $1.00 Elastic bandages. Great for supporting a sprained ankle. Find at a dollar store.
  • $1.00 Feminine pads. Besides feminine use, these can also be used ad a wound compression bandage. Find at a dollar store or use some from your own supply.
  • $1.00 Duct tape. Wrap a few yards on a stick or popsicle stick. In an emergency, use it to hold a compression bandage in place. Hopefully you have some around the house.

Put all items in a waterproof Ziploc bag and mark FIRST AID.

If you have several young children, you could adapt the kits. Perhaps yours will have more first aid supplies than theirs, but I plan to put the items above in my 14 year-old's kits as she may need to evacuate if I'm not home.

I’m sure there are other items you thought of, but I hope this basic list gets you started with some lightweight first aid supplies for your kit. I’m excited to work on this myself.

Best wishes on becoming better prepared for emergencies,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

MARCH 2019: Week 4 printable 
March Preparedness Challenges
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4


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