October 4, 2018

October Food Storage and Prep Handout

Fall is upon us here in Utah. The air is cooler and General Conference is just around the corner. It’s also a great time to gather oils and fats into our food storage. As we enter the holiday season, many oils and fats go on sale. 

All oils are not created equal. Shelf life varies. Gather what you like to use so you will use it. This is NOT a long-term food item, so be careful to read your container. I like canola because of its shelf life, but you may like olive oil. Anything works here. There is a huge variety of coconut oils. Don't assume it has a long shelf life. Check the label.

Here is the October handout I made for the Relief Society sisters in my ward. You’re welcome to print the pdf to see what we are focusing on this month.

Other types of fats you may want to store are peanut or almond butter. There are soooo many differences here. Again, read the label. Maybe you should be refrigerating your almond butter and you didn't know it.

Another fat is chocolate. Yep! Love it! I store semi-sweet chocolate chips since they have a 2-year shelf life, whereas milk chocolate has about a year shelf life. I store my chips in the freezer, but they can also be in your pantry. I love to find my stash of  cold chocolate chips!

Other fats are mayonnaise, salad dressings and shortening. Store whatever your family uses.
It’s best to store oil & fats in a dark, cool location or closed cupboard. Always smell oil before using it and write the date you open a container on the label.

Fire Safety is my emergency focus this month. It’s Fire Prevention week in the U.S. next week, but I vote they move it to June ahead of the fire season. How about you?

The October Costco ad, has smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers on sale for $7 to $10 off. That’s cool!

It’s that time of year when those of us in Davis County, Utah drain our water systems because we don’t want the water to freeze in the pipes during the winter. We use mountain water to irrigate our yards. It's very economical, but we rely on the snowpack. We had a drought this year and my vegetable garden suffered, so I'll figure out a better way to water next year.

I hope some of these ideas help you during the month of October. The key to food storage is gather what you eat and eat what you store. Not buy it and forget about it. Food does NOT last forever and requires rotation or use. So, use it and buy some more!

Best wishes,

Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer

September 25, 2018

Relief Society Mock Disaster Drill

I’ve been wanting to teach an earthquake disaster drill in my Relief Society for a long time, and I finally had my chance a few weeks ago.  As I was preparing my presentation I began struggling. I had ideas, but they were not working. The thought came to me to share the class with the wards around me.  What? That was a huge undertaking. But my anxiousness calmed down, and I contacted my Relief Society presidency. It was a go!

I contacted the other Relief Society leaders, and they wanted to join us too! I was so excited. It just so happened that the date of the event was on 9/11, so many of us were dealing with memories of that day.
I shared a PowerPoint presentation about earthquake preparation and what we might face if the Big One happened here in Utah. My goal was to empower the women and help them see that working together they can face any challenge. We need each other.
After my presentation, I shared details of our earthquake. It happened in January during the winter on a Wednesday at 10 AM. Kids were in school and people at work. Who was left in our neighborhood? Our bishopric and elder’s quorum presidency were gone as well as most of our emergency captains. About four retired men were left and a scattering of women and the elderly.
Communication was limited since cell phone towers were down. Our freeways were at a standstill. Our first responders could not reach us. Homes were damaged, people injured, kids waiting for parents at schools, parents unable to get home, and some neighbors had died.
Next, the women were divided into four groups where they could solve challenges they might face after the earthquake. The groups dealt with medical needs, children’s needs, food & water, sanitation and the deceased. Each group was given 15 minutes to come up with solutions to their challenges, and then I invited a spokeswoman from each group to share the group’s questions and solutions. It was definitely a time to think and ponder.
Group A – Medical
  • List those in the neighborhood who have first aid training. Put a stare by those that don’t work on Wednesday mornings. Think nurses, docs, PA’s, EMT’s, fire fighter, police officers, physical therapists, etc.
  • How will you implement search and rescue to look for survivors?
  • Where will you get first aid supplies, splints, crutches, wheelchairs, etc.
  • Where is a good place to set up a medical treatment area?
  • What will you do with the deceased?
Group B – Food & Water
  • Where will you get food & water? What are your resources?
  • How will you distribute the available food?
  • What type of equipment will you cook on?
  • How will you dispose of food trash so animals don’t get to it?
  • How will you deal with food allergies?
Group C – Children
  • Identify the number and approximate ages of children living in your ward?
  • List all of the schools children attend in the neighborhood.
  • How will you get children home from the schools without a parent?
  • How will you organize the tending of children without parents?
  • How will you feed infants if a parent is deceased?
Group D – Shelter & Toilets
  • Where would be a good place to set up an outdoor shelter?
  • What types of equipment will you need to shelter people?
  • How will you keep people warm & dry?
  • What items can people use to keep their bodies clean with water limited?
  • How will you provide toilets?
Working together, our women were awesome. It was amazing!  They got right to work solving the challenges. They CAN do hard things like their pioneer sisters before them.

I’m so glad we did this. We all have things we can do to become better prepared for the emergencies that can happen in our various neighborhoods. But sometimes we need to face the reality of what if? to see what to prepare for.
UofU Seismograph Stations – Recent Utah earthquakes
Sorry I can’t share my Power Point presentation with you here.  I hope to get words to it on YouTube, but have not had time.

September 1, 2018

September Food Storage and Prep Handout

Here is the September Relief Society food storage handout with the goals we are working on. I’m the Provident Living Specialist in my LDS ward. I hope some of these ideas help some of you too, my friends! 

 Our September focus is meat, potatoes and earthquake prep. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sells dehydrated potato flakes which are useful for making rolls, pancakes and mashed potatoes. Each #10 can has a 30-year shelf life. The instant potatoes come in a pouch and have a 1 1/2 year shelf life. They are available for pickup at a Home Storage Center location near you.

Gather small cans of meat which typically have a 3-5 year shelf-life. Find some on sale this month at Utah case lot sales, or Sam’s Club and Costco. Meat tends to be expensive, so watch for sales.
Our emergency goals are earthquake preparation. Check out the handout for some ideas.
Best wishes,

Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer

August 2, 2018

August Food Storage and Prep Handout

Here is the provident living emergency newsletter I gave to the Relief Society sisters in my ward. It has food storage and emergency items we are focused on gathering this month. Hope you find it useful!

Our August prep focus is fruits and vegetables, and items for an emergency shelter.
If you love canning or freezing your own food, your food storage supply will quickly grow. However, you could also buy your canned fruits and vegetables at grocery store case lot sales coming in a few weeks.

July 1, 2018

July Food Storage and Prep Handout

Here is the July 2018 food storage prep newsletter I created for my ward Relief Society sisters. Our July prep focus is sugars, canning supplies, and emergency shelter activities.

You are welcome to print it here:
It’s recommended that we store 60 lbs. of sugars per person. Yes, wow! Any combination of honey, white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, jams, jellies, pancake or maple syrup, molasses, agave, etc. will work. See example.
Most recipes need less honey than white sugar…sometimes half. A combination of both is best. Most dry sugars and honey have an indefinite shelf life. Cool!
If you’re a canner, perhaps buy sugar with your canning supplies this month. Costco and Sam’s Club always have great prices on sugar, and the Home Storage Center has white sugar & honey too. Walmart has canning supplies.
With wisdom and careful planning you can gather the types of sugar that work for your family.
Best wishes!
Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer

June 1, 2018

June Food Storage and Prep Handout

June is the month where I like to gather grains, vitamins and yeast, and practice bread making because it’s easier for bread to rise when it’s warmer.

If you decide to store a year’s supply of wheat or other grains, it’s important to have enough leavening ingredients. A Brigham Young University handout recommends 2 lbs. for person per year. That’s a lot of yeast. So, I store mine in my freezer and it lasts longer like 3 years.

For my ward Relief Society sisters, I called several stores to find a good price on Saf-instant yeast. A store in Ogden called Kitchen Kneads carries it for about $4.00. You can usually find yeast at stores like Costco and Sam’s Club too.
As far as wheat, I prefer to buy LDS hard wheat as it costs about $2.75 per #10 can, and can be stored for 30 years. I store both hard red and white wheat. A can of wheat makes about 16.5 cups of wheat flour and 6 loaves of bread.
Gathering grains was important anciently. In the Book of Mormon, Lehi and his family “gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind….much fruits and meat…honey…and provisions…we did go down into the ship….” (1 Nephi 8:1 and 1 Nephi 18:6).
After arriving in the promised land, “…we did put all our seeds into the earth…they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance.” (1 Nephi 18: 24).
Like Nephi, may we be abundantly blessed for our obedience in gathering food storage this month!
Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer


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