February 22, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - February Week 4

First, I want to thank all of you who have been following these preparedness challenges. I'm amazed at what you've accomplished! Don't worry if you can't get it all done. I'm not getting it all done, but it's keeping preparedness fresh on my mind.

This week we're going to focus on three goals in emergency communication. The first one will be easy for you; making sure your cell phone has text. Your second goal is to have a solar cell phone charger and your third goal is to put emergency apps on your phone. Let's start with that first goal.

1. Have a Cell Phone with Text
After a major disaster, the ability to call will be very limited as many people will be using the same circuits so, it's best to communicate through text. Sometimes you can communicate through apps such as Twitter or Facebook. It really depends on what is available. So, make sure your phone can text.

In a previous week we talked about having an emergency communication plan. One reminder is to have an out-of-state contact who family members can contact when they can't contact you.

2. Have a Solar Cell Phone Charger
We are extremely dependent on our cell phones, and there are times when the power goes out for extended periods of time. A solar cell phone charger is the answer. Recently in my ward some of us purchased the Max 2-in-1 from LuminAid. I like this charger because it is collapsible, waterproof and provides light. There are many other options for you to choose from.


3. Add Emergency Apps to Your Phone
This is by far the easiest part of this week's challenge. We live in an amazing technical era with first aid knowledge at our fingertips. Whether it's an everyday disaster or a major disaster, we need emergency answers on our phones.

I keep mine in a folder on my cell phone. And who couldn't be without the Savior in a crises?

A few apps I like:


DISASTER HELP: "Receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Learn emergency safety tips for over 20 types of disasters, including earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, tornados and more. Locate open shelters in your area and find disaster recovery centers where you can talk to FEMA in person."

Red Cross Apps

BE PREPARED: Do you know first aid? Or what to do in an earthquake? These apps and more not listed, will help you in an emergency.


BE A LIFESAVER: "Where adopted, PulsePoint Respond empowers everyday citizens to provide life‐saving assistance to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. App users who have indicated they are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and willing to assist in case of an emergency can be notified if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR.

If the cardiac emergency is in a public place, the location-aware application will alert users in the vicinity of the need for CPR simultaneous with the dispatch of advanced medical care. The application also directs these potential rescuers to the exact location of the closest Automated External Defibrillator (AED)."

TIP A CRISES: "The SafeUT Crisis Text and Tip Line is a statewide service that provides real-time crisis intervention to youth through texting and a confidential tip program – right from your smartphone." Perhaps your state has one.

I hope you found something you can work on. I sure enjoyed putting this post together for you.

Best wishes,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer


Check out more preparedness ideas on my Food Storage Organizer Pinterest Page.

Preparedness Challenges

February 20, 2019

Preparedness Challenge January Week 3: Reader Experience

During the last two weeks of January, we were challenged to gather emergency water storage, and collect a few emergency supplies.
Water Storage
My mom broke down this step to accommodate all circumstances, budgets, and living space. Since we are on a tight budget in a small apartment, our goal was to gather the minimum recommended amount of water per person- 3 gallons/person.

We decided to buy 1-gallon bottles from Walmart. To stay within our weekly grocery budget, I broke down our 12-gallon goal to 3 gallons a week. Each week I stop by the water aisle, pick up three more gallons of water, and store them under our bathroom sink. Here’s what we have so far!

Buy Emergency Items

Two of the items we were encouraged to have on hand are a manual can opener and an emergency prep book. We were gifted a manual can opener at our wedding, so I was able to check that off pretty quick!

As for the emergency prep books, we have yet to purchase one. I plan on borrowing one from my sister after she reads it. Hopefully, I’ll eventually obtain a collection of my own.
Something that I’ve been reading since I don’t own emergency prep books, is my mom’s website. She has tons of information on a variety of emergency preparedness topics for free! I’m grateful to have her website to turn to when I have questions on how to prepare.
Under her Emergency Preparedness tab, she has 59 posts that include simple ideas to be more prepared for all types of emergencies. And no, she’s not paying me to put this plug in. I just think her information is accurate, up to date, and super helpful! Not to mention, it’s always broken down into simple steps that everyone can accomplish one way or another.

Good luck with the challenge!


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February 16, 2019

Preparedness Challenge January Week 2: Reader Experience

During the Preparedness Challenge - January Week 2, we were encouraged to work on three things. First, my mom asked us to go clean out our cupboards of any old food storage. Next, we were asked to buy a 3-month supply of food storage beverages and food. And finally, she challenged us to work towards a 1-month supply of toiletries.

Cleaning Out Food

Luckily, before this week’s challenge, I watched Marie Kondo’s Netflix original, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The drive to clean out all of my cupboards and organize everything was fresh on my mind. So, I was excited to get going on this challenge.

Because I don’t have a lot of stored food, there wasn’t much to throw out. I used this as an opportunity to reorganize my shelves. My pantry is very small, so the more efficient I use the space, the more items I’ll be able to store.

On the food storage inventory sheets, I wrote down the few shelf stable items we had at the time. Here’s a picture of what I wrote. I added some of the foods I’d like to purchase in the next few months to the lists.

Food Storage Beverages

My mom encouraged us to buy a 3-month supply of food storage beverages that we’d actually drink if the circumstance required. Because of my tight space, I’ve decided to work on a 1-month supply.

For Christmas in 2017, my mom gifted me my very own bag of LDS Hot Cocoa drink mix! At the time, I wasn’t too thrilled, but I’m so grateful I have this now when working on building my own food storage. Because this particular hot chocolate has a shelf-life of two years, we’ll be sure to drink it by the end of this year!

I also bought a small container of Tang drink mix in case we wanted something a little more refreshing in this Arizona heat.

3-Month Supply of Food

As I mentioned before, I’m planning on storing a 1-month supply of food storage, instead of the recommended 3-month supply. At this time in my life, we don’t have the space or budget to store more.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on buying 3 to 4 extra cans of food every time I grocery shop. I try to buy what’s on sale that week and check out the grocery ads to make sure I get the best deals. Each week, we still consume some of the items I’m buying for our supply, but I make sure it’s still increasing.

I haven’t quite figured out what a 1-month supply for us will look like, but once I get a good stash, I'll take inventory and try to figure out how long it could last. So far I have plenty of corn, beans, and diced tomatoes!
1-Month Supply of Toiletries
Along with the extra cans of food each week, I try to grab extra rolls of toilet paper or other toiletries. I almost have a 1-month supply of the items listed to collect.

Buying a few things each week has been super helpful for our small budget. So far I’ve been able to find a space for everything in our little apartment.

After my weekly grocery shopping, I mark down what I’ve purchased, and what I still need. I try to stay organized so I don’t get too overwhelmed by the quantity I need. Here’s a picture of the chart I added to the challenge sheet for this week. It’s where I keep track of the toiletries I have and need.

I should be able to complete our toiletry stash in the next couple of weeks, and then from there it’s just maintaining the supply as we go through the items. I’ve already noticed a feeling of simplicity by having these items on hand and can’t wait to continue gathering our supply!


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February 15, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - February Week 3

This week's Preparedness Challenge will be super easy as you buy a 1-month supply of dental toiletries. Yep, that's it. Something tells me you may already have that. But it's nice to have a supply on hand in case the day comes when money is short.

Most people store their toothbrush in a counter cup or drawer. And those areas become disgusting. You know what I mean. Clean those spaces until they sparkle!

These items could include:

  • toothbrushes or electric tooth brush replacement heads
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • floss
  • and anything else you use to clean those teeth. 
Project Linen Closet Reveal {pretty and organized!}

One of my new favorite organizing websites is DoItOnaDimeBlog.com. You will love how Kathryn organizes inexpensively.


Find more ideas on my Food Storage Organizer Home: Bathroom Pinterest board.

I'd love to hear how this week went for you.

Have a great week!

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Preparedness Challenge - February Week 3

Preparedness Challenges

February 14, 2019

Food Storage Breakfasts: 3-Month Supply

Below is an idea of what foods you might want to gather for your 3-month food storage breakfasts. It’s perfectly fine to have a mix of short-term and long-term food storage in your 3-month food storage supply. In fact, it can be cheaper if you do. 

It’s ok if you don’t eat what you see below every day. What's most important is you store foods you DO eat now, or perhaps WILL eat if you had nothing else to eat.

My list assumes you include some of the items you can buy at an LDS Home Storage Center, but it's only an example. Shop where you want. Buy what works for your family.

The amounts are for 2 people. Each week they would have these meals:
  • oatmeal for 3 meals,
  • cold cereal and fruit for 1 meal,
  • pancakes and dried apples for 2 meals and
  • waffles and dried strawberries for 1 meal


Oatmeal - 72 servings
3 LDS Quick Oats cans = $11.25
3 (28 oz.) LDS Non-fat Dry Milk pouches = $12.00
1 (32 oz.) Raisin bag = $7.00
1 (2 lbs.) Brown Sugar Bag = $1.00
1 Cinnamon jar = $1.00
Total: $33.25

Cold Cereal & Fruit - 24 servings
2 boxes Breakfast Cereal = $6.00
1 (28 oz.) LDS Non-fat Dry Milk pouch = $4.00
12 cans Peaches or Pears = $9.00
Total: $19.00

Pancakes - 48 servings
1 1/2 (4 lb.) LDS Pancake mix pouches = $6.00
24 Applesauce cups = $7.68
2 (28 oz.) LDS Non-fat Dry Milk pouches = $8.00
2 (48 oz.) Canola Oil bottle = $4.00
1.5 LDS Dried Apple cans = $16.88
Total: $42.56

Waffles - 24 servings
1 (4 lb.) LDS Pancake mix pouch = $4.00
12 (4 oz. ) Applesauce cups = $7.68
2 (48 oz.) Canola Oil bottles $2.00 ea. = $4.00
2 lbs. Dried Strawberries (home dried) = $4.00
1 (48 oz.) Pancake Syrup bottle = $1.35
Total: $21.03
GRAND TOTAL- $115.84

Many of you can’t afford that right now. If so, start with a smaller supply.

Hope this helps you,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Food Storage Breakfast Handout.pdf 

Reader ideas:
“I'm getting stocked up on breakfast foods! Just bought lots of peanut butter, some long term storage of cornmeal, butter powder, quinoa, tons of oats because we eat them daily, and the additions we like to add to oatmeal:
  • Ground almonds, walnuts, and pecans, ground flax meal and whole flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, and dehydrated apple slices. I think we have about 2 to 3 months of the additions because they are not packed for long term storage and I'm not sure if they could be.
I need to get hulled hemp seeds, more molasses, and maple syrup then we'd be set! Oatmeal doesn't have to be boring! I make the type called overnight oats, but I eat them right after being made so they still have a little bit of bite to them and they're not mush like cooked oatmeal can be. I switch up the additions every couple days and add fresh fruit when it's in season.” K. E.

February 11, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - January Week 1: Reader Experience

I'm excited to have my daughter Rebecca write articles for my blog! I thought some of you young families might like to hear how another young family has taken on my Weekly Preparedness Challenges. Here is Rebecca's first post.

Growing up I loved how organized my mom always was. I remember feeling like everything in our house had a place, and she always knew that exact place. Since becoming a mom, and learning to keep things organized in my own way, I’ve learned a lot!

Two things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t really known how to do in an organized way are getting started on my own food storage and becoming more prepared for emergencies. You’d think I’d know all the ins and outs of this subject with my mom being so adept at it.

Thankfully, she has come up with an exciting way to get me moving on my personal food storage and emergency preparedness while keeping it organized and simple. Thanks, mom!

So, here’s my personal journey to completing her weekly challenges!


First things first, I want to give a little background on my situation. I’ve been married for just over 2 years now, and have one little boy, with a second on the way! He’s due in June.

We live in Mesa, AZ in a 2-bedroom apartment. We’ll be here for about 2 years or so. Being in a smaller apartment, we don’t have a ton of space, but we make it work. My husband works as an accountant and I stay at home with our son.

That being said, I’ve definitely made tweaks to my mom’s challenges, so they work for my family, our budget, and the space we temporarily live in.

I’m glad she adds in ideas you can do if you have a small budget and space. Obviously, every situation is different, but I thought it would be helpful to share how I complete her challenges. Maybe some of you are in a situation like mine.

Preparedness Challenge - January Week 1

This week we were challenged to get two binders set up and start our grab and go kits. I found two binders at home that weren’t being used.

We got a printer for Christmas, so we were able to print off the inserts and other handouts. During my weekly grocery shopping, I bought two sets of dividers and got everything set up with my binders.

For the grab and go kits, this week was simple! Luckily I had almost everything needed for them at home. I grabbed some water bottles from the case we have at home, put them and some toilet paper in Ziplocs, and labeled the bags.

Next, I emptied out a hiking backpack that we don’t currently use for my husband’s grab and go bag. I loaded his water bottles and supplies into his bag.

My mom gives each one of her kids the grab and go bags we had growing up when we move out, so I used this bag for my kit.

For my son, I have yet to find a bag for him, but I do have a small container that holds his items for now. Hopefully, as the kit grows I’ll find a bigger and more convenient place to put his items. All three of our bags are in our laundry closet which is near the front door of our apartment.

Because we don’t have a ton of space, we always keep one case of water at home. I also keep a case in my car for emergencies. I’ll have to purchase one for my husband’s car as well.

This week I tried to use a lot of things we already have, which wasn’t that difficult! We don’t have a ton of money to put towards food storage and emergency preparedness, so I’m grateful these challenges can be adjusted accordingly.


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