June 30, 2012

July 2012: Monthly Food Storage Shopping List


The food storage focus for July is summer foods. Many families keep these types of items in their pantry, so this will be easy to add to your 3-month food storage supply. Each week you will be gathering several items. Watch for sales so you can stock up.

To start out the month, pick up a few boxes of crackers, bags of chips and some canned baked beans. I regularly keep a supply of graham crackers, saltine crackers and tortilla chips in my cupboard. These items only have a one month shelf life, so you will want to replenish them regularly.

Why snacks? During an emergency such as a week-long power outage, many of these foods do not require power to prepare. You could eat crackers with a can of stew or raviolis or baked beans. You could spread some peanut butter on graham crackers. And yes, you can cook popcorn on a camping stove. Obviously some items on the list do require power, but if the electricity was out at the store down the street, what will you eat?

July is National baked beans month, so stock up on your favorite brand. You will also be gathering Jello gelatin, pudding, food bars, popcorn (not microwave), chocolate syrup, lemon juice, vinegar, olives, lemon juice, and towards the end of the month jelly/jam and honey. Whew! Pick and choice what works best for your family. The list below has suggested amounts to get you thinking.

July 2012

Many retailers put back-to-school products on their shelves in July which means they reduce prices on summer items. So, take advantage of clearance sales and buy a cooler, and some camping and emergency supplies for your family 72-hour kits.

If you haven't already done so, create a prioritized evacuation list; what to take and the order you would take it. Are you ready? If not, then make a plan. And then practice the plan with your family.
Also, if you are just getting connected with me, you may want to check out my other monthly lists to see if there are items you would like to gather. Just go here.

Best wishes,
Valerie

June 28, 2012

How to Prioritize An Evacuation List

The current fires in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and a small fire in the hills above my own Farmington home a week ago have motivated me to update our evacuation list. It is always better to plan an evacuation when your mind is clear, rather than during an actual life threatening event.

I made an attempt to update our family list yesterday, but I don't feel it's done. However, I shared it with my daughter and she encouraged me to post it anyway to get people thinking. 
Every time I do this activity, I realize I am not as prepared as I'd like to be. Makes me a bit crazy. However, at least we are improving. If someone were to knock on your door and say you had a few minutes to evacuate, would you be ready?

Honestly, I have never evacuated. So this activity is something I have to imagine, and it always gets my heart racing. Even though I don't have a baby anymore, I assumed I could be watching one of my grandchildren, so you will see baby things on the lists. 

How to Prioritize an Evacuation List
  1. List the most important items you want to take with you. Just brainstorm and start writing.
  2. Then divide the big list into four smaller lists. What you would take if you had 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour to evacuate. Use your imagination.
  3. Then arrange your items within those smaller lists in the order you would grab them in your home to save the most time. I decided to go upstairs, and work my way down. You may not have an upstairs. So choose a part of your house to go to first.  
  4. If you end up with 15 minutes to evacuate, then grab items on both the 5 minute list and the 15 minute list based on location. Or if you have 30 minutes, grab from the 5 minute list, the 15 minute list and the 30 minute list. And so forth.
  5. Practice the evacuation with your family. (We still need to practice).
  6. Copy the list several times and post in various locations in your home.
See my updated post at my new website Food Storage Organizer. And a new handout.

Below is an Example
5 MINUTES
UPSTAIRS
External hard drive
Safe (docs/cash in black bag)
MAIN FLOOR
Baby bag
Child’s stroller
Dog leash & Pet 72-hour kit
Car/house Keys
Shoes/jacket
Purse or wallet (you need ID)
Cell phone
FRONT CLOSET

15 MINUTES (add these)
UPSTAIRS
Glasses/Contacts/Retainers
Prescription meds
Cell phone charger
Pants, shirt, underwear, socks
MAIN FLOOR
Laptop (kitchen)
FRONT CLOSET
Case of bottled water
Family memory bins
Sleeping bags

30 MINUTES (add these)
UPSTAIRS
Journal
First aid kit (linen closet)
Family portraits
MAIN FLOOR
Cooler with snacks
Violin
Blankets (FR basket)
FRONT CLOSET
Blue water jug
Tent
Lanterns
Radio
Porta-potty
Batteries


June 24, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #26

Here's what we're working on this week:

INVENTORY: Pantry basics and mixes (ingredients you use to bake with). Count what you have. Decide what you need. 

EMERGENCY FUND: Add $2.00 or more per person each week.

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases per person).

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE: Other grain 5 lbs or 1 #10 can. Or buy a small amount of various grains such as spelt, corn, flax, millet, pearl barley, quinoa, rye, or buckwheat. You will do this again next week.

HOME STORAGE: Trash bags.

72-HOUR KIT: Underwear.

AUTO KIT: Walking shoes. An old pair will do.

EQUIPMENT: Bread knife.

PREP GOAL: Learn to make bread. Check out Chef Brad or King Arthur.

Getting Our Financial Houses In Order

Today our family watched the movie, "Joseph: King of Dreams," a film about the life of Joseph from the Old Testament. At first I wasn't sure I would like it, because I was expecting something on the grand scale of "The Prince of Egypt." However, I found myself actually crying towards the end as I watched the struggles Joseph had with his brothers. One part that caught my attention was seeing Pharaoh's dream about the seven fat cows and seven skinny cows, and the seven good ears of corn and seven skinny ears.

Joseph interpreted the dreams and said they were one, and that there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Then Joseph advised Pharaoh to store a fifth or 20% of the harvest (grain) during the years of plenty to prepare for the famine. We have not been counseled to put aside a seven year's supply of food, but we have been counseled to get ourselves out of debt, and put aside money for emergencies.

After the movie, my husband and I listened again to the talk President Gordon B. Hinckley gave in 2008 (nearly four years ago!) entitled, "To the Men, and Boys." Learning to manage our finances applies to women and girls as well, especially when women account for 70-80% of consumer spending in the United States. 

I hope you will take time to listen to this powerful talk and catch the vision of self-reliance. The beginning of the talk is to the boys, but the end of the talk is about temporal or financial matters, and Pharaoh's dream.

As we listened, my husband and I looked at each other and decided right then and there to make some changes. I know that as we choose to be obedient and get our financial houses in order, we will be blessed. I absolutely know that! 

A few key phrases with bold added:

"Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order. So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings."

"There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed."

"I recognize that it may be necessary to borrow to get a home, of course. But let us buy a home that we can afford and thus ease the payments which will constantly hang over our heads without mercy or respite for as long as 30 years."

"No one knows when emergencies will strike."

"We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the Church. Self-reliance cannot obtain when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others."

"In managing the affairs of the Church, we have tried to set an example. We have, as a matter of policy, stringently followed the practice of setting aside each year a percentage of the income of the Church against a possible day of need. I am grateful to be able to say that the Church in all its operations, in all its undertakings, in all of its departments, is able to function without borrowed money. If we cannot get along, we will curtail our programs. We will shrink expenditures to fit the income. We will not borrow."

"I urge you, brethren, to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage."

"If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts."

June 20, 2012

Summer Chores for Teens


Over the years, I have come up with more kids chore charts than I can count on both hands. I'm always looking for a new and improved method. A few weeks ago I created a new chore system for the summer, and so far it is working.

One motivator for getting chores done is something I learned from my mother, "No workie, no payie." Which means, if you don't work, you don't get paid. But money doesn't motivate my girls. However, if the phrase is, "No workie, do playie," then that means something!  If you don't work, you don't get to hang out with friends. The key is figuring out what motivates them. And this works for both of my teen girls.

Here is how to create a chore system for teens:
  1. List all of the household chores you want to delegate to your teens. 
  2. Decide which chores need to be done daily and weekly. Because "Kitchen Duty" is a daily chore, we still rotate it weekly. So for a whole week they do the dishes and clean the kitchen. At first this was hard because a few years ago one empty and one filled. Then I switched to every other day do it all. But now they get a whole week off after working all week.
  3. Allow them their agency to choose when they get the jobs done, but don't let them hang out with friends until they do. 
  4. Let them decide how much they want to do each day. Children come in all shapes and sizes, and their personalities vary so much that one system does not work for another. One of my girls likes to get as much done as possible in one day. The other wants to do a little bit each day. Both ways works for me.
  5. Make and laminate detailed chore cards and hang them in the area to work. This is helpful because they see my expectations. 
They have actually done a wonderful job! They need reminders, but not being allowed to go do something is the greatest reminder. 

Daughter Age 18
KITCHEN DUTY (Daily) Wk 2, Wk 4
MENUS & SHOPPING (Weekly) Wk 2, Wk 4 
COOKING DUTY Monday, Wednesday
FRONT ROOM/ENTRY (Weekly)
GIRLS BATH (Weekly)
LAUNDRY & SHEETS (Weekly)
HER BEDROOM (Weekly)

Daughter Age 16
KITCHEN DUTY (Daily) Wk 1, Wk 3
MENUS & SHOPPING (Weekly) Wk 1, Wk 3
COOKING DUTY Tuesday, Thursday
FAMILY ROOM (Weekly)
GUEST BATH/LAUNDRY (Weekly)
LAUNDRY & SHEETS (Weekly)
HER BEDROOM (Weekly)

Understand that I like things neat. But I've learned to live with dust, finger prints and nose prints on the front door window from the neighbor kids. And typically the stacks of things around the house are mine.

Here are my detailed Teen Chore Cards.pdf






June 19, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #25

INVENTORY: Fruits and Vegetables. Count what you have. Decide what you need.

EMERGENCY FUND: Add $2.00 or more per person each week.

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases per person). Smith's (Kroger) on sale $2.50 per case.

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE: Other grain 5 lbs or 1 #10 can. Or buy a small amount of various grains such as spelt, corn, flax, millet, pearl barley, quinoa, rye, or buckwheat. You will do this again next week. 

HOME STORAGE: Bread bags with twist ties.

72-HOUR KIT: Hat

AUTO KIT: Hat

EQUIPMENT: Bread pans. A good set.

PREP GOAL: Collect a few bread recipes. Perhaps whole wheat bread, rolls, pizza dough, quick bread, and cinnamon rolls. You will be practicing one of these next week.

June 16, 2012

Father's Day: My Husband is Our Unsung Hero

My man
Yesterday, I drove to Eden, Utah, to cheer on my two daughters who were part of a 12-member running team in the Ragnar Wasatch Back race. It's about 200 miles from Logan to Park City. Wow!

Our well decorated Suburban.
What touches me the most is the sacrifice my husband made to be the driver of their car. It's not an easy task to be a driver as you follow your team the entire race, and drop off replacement runners at various locations. But my husband lives for these opportunities. He even made a spreadsheet with the estimated leg times of the team based on their high school performance times.

A friend with Emma and Hannah
My husband was responsible for driving ahead of each runner then pulling over to the side of the road so screaming girls in the car could cheer on their team mate.

Becca
After the runner passed, he drove half a mile ahead and waited for her to catch up again, so the girls could cheer some more. Listen.



As I sit here on my comfortable couch writing, they are still "out there" for the rest of the day. But it gives me time to reflect on the many sacrifices my husband has made over the years for our seven children. The support he has given as they've participated in band, choir and piano performances, tennis matches, football and soccer games, track and cross-country events, scouting activities and young women events and camps.

I could not have asked for a better father for my children. As a priesthood leader in our home, he teaches us about the gospel with regular family scripture study, family home evening and prayer. And though sometimes we get a few discourses, I love him for it.

When our two grandchildren were born, he was excited to be Grandpa. He has a gift for quieting fussy babies and always wants to visit our grand kids. He gets a bit jealous if I get the chance without him.


His arms are always waiting to hold handsome Andrew,


and sweet Elena.

For almost 28 years, he has risen each day to go to work to provide for us. He is the unsung hero in our home.

As you each celebrate father's day, I hope you will look back at the perfections of your own husband or father, and overlook the imperfections. We are so fortunate. Happy Father's Day!

I thought you also might enjoy this beautiful video about another great dad.

June 10, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #24

INVENTORY: Emergency equipment. Look over your camping equipment, sleeping bags, blankets, outdoor cooking supplies, coolers, fire extinguisher (does it work?), etc.

EMERGENCY FUND: $2.00 or more per person each week.

2-WEEK'S WATER: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases)

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE: Wheat, hard white or red 25 lbs. or 4 #10 LDS cans
Store part of it in a pantry container like Rubbermaid, Tupperware, or IKEA. And store the rest in long-term containers like cans or buckets. Or if you rarely use wheat, start with a smaller amount to practice grinding and baking with it. If you haven't built a 3-month food storage supply, you don't have to buy a year's supply yet. Read this.

HOME STORAGE: Paper bowls, 2 week or 1 month supply. Useful in emergencies when you can't wash regular bowls. Just stick it in the back of the cupboard.

72-HOUR KIT: Socks & shoes

AUTO KIT: Socks

EQUIPMENT: A Cookbook. Here are a few I recommend you look at - Simple Recipes Using Food Storage, Emergency Food in a Nutshell, Deseret Recipes, I Can't Believe Its Food Storage, The Essential Food Storage Cookbook, Cooking With Food Storage Made Easy.

PREP GOAL: Learn to sprout grains.

If you prefer prepping with the monthly list, go to this pdf copy of The June 2012 List. 

MY CURRENT GIVEAWAY: Four lucky winners will receive my upcoming "The Food Storage Organizer." Go here for more details. Thanks everyone for your input. I love it! And if you haven't participated in the poll on the top right sidebar, please do so! Much appreciated.

Results of My Poll: Most Difficult Food Storage Challenges

Last week I spent every free moment working on my book.  I write in the car on my laptop while my 7 year-old is taking her swim lessons and even ponder on my walks in our neighborhood. Inspiration comes at the oddest times and places, but it is coming. It makes it difficult to keep up with some of the other things I love to do like write posts. But I hope you will understand. The book just has to get done.

Today I'll share the results of my recent food storage poll which 400 people participated in answering the question:

What are your most difficult food storage challenges? 

MOST DIFFICULT
Limited storage space 167 (41%)
Affordability 166 (41%)
Water storage 135 (33%)
Getting organized 130 (32%)
Inventory or tracking what I have 130 (32%)

DIFFICULT
Using/replacing food storage 105 (26%)
How much to store 96 (24%)
Recipes 75 (18%)

SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT
Eating canned/boxed foods 58 (14%)
Motivation 53 (13%)
Healthy or gluten-free options 44 (11%)
72-Hour kits 46 (11%)
My spouse 35 (8%)

Thanks for participating as these answers help me help you more. I've added a new poll to gather additional information from you.

PLEASE HELP! ANSWER THE POLL on the top of my blog.

PLEASE HELP! DO YOU HAVE A STORY? I am in need of disaster survival stories that I might add to my book, "The Food Storage Organizer." Please email me if you have one, or know of someone else who has gone through a disaster such as living through a major earthquake, hurricane, tornado, fire, etc. Or if you've experienced a job loss and used your food storage to help you get through the rough times. Please

June 4, 2012

Food Storage Goals: Week #23 June 3 - 9

I spent the day uncovering my desk from the pile of paperwork, graduation announcements, medical bills, report cards, newsletters, etc. that had become Mt. Everest during the month of May. At the bottom of the pile I discovered the iPhone car charger I had purchased in April!

Now that the kids are out of school it's time to regroup. I know some of you are facing the same challenge right about now. So let's get back to work on our food storage and preparedness.

As the summer heat increases don't forget to stock up on water. Water has to be #1. So if you haven't done that, think again. It is absolutely necessary. You've heard me say it before, and I will say it again. You can't live without it. If you don't have any water stored, set a goal this week to pick up a case of drinking water. Stash it under a bed, or each person's bed.

"In hot conditions with no water, dehydration can set in within an hour. A baby locked in a hot car or someone who is physically overexerted in the heat without replacing fluids can actually die in a period of several hours." How Stuff Works

Some of you do better looking at my monthly food storage lists and some do better week-by-week so you don't become overwhelmed. The choice is yours. And remember, pick and choose what you can do. You don't have to do everything!

EMERGENCY FUND: Set aside $2.00 or more per person each week and all year long.

2-WEEK WATER SUPPLY: Accumulate 14 gallons of water per person (or 4x24 ct. cases of bottled water per person).

3-MONTH FOOD STORAGE:
10 lbs. of rice or 2 #10 LDS cans
Since this is part of your 3-month supply, you can store part of it in your pantry in a container like Rubbermaid, Tupperware, or something from IKEA. If you buy small bags, just stock up on a few more. If you eat brown rice, then put that in a container, and perhaps pick up a couple of cans of white rice to store long-term. Brown rice does not store well long-term.

NON-FOOD: Paper towels. Perhaps a 1 month supply. These are very useful in emergencies. Those living in small apartments may only need a few extra rolls. If your goal is 3 rolls, learn to always keep 3 rolls on the shelf.

INVENTORY: Look over your spices. Even if you added some last month, look over your supply. Are you low on anything? Read about my 52-Week Inventory List.

72-HOUR KIT: A pair of pants and a shirt. Could be something right out of your closet. I'm picking up some sports pants from the DI for each family member because they fit easier in our backpacks. We already have matching yellow T-shirts.

AUTO KIT: Toss a small roll of paper towels in your car.

EQUIPMENT: Sprouting equipment. You can even use a mason jar! This is a new venture for me. and something I won't do everyday. Go to SproutPeople.org and watch some great how-to videos.

PREPAREDNESS GOAL: Fall-proof your home. It is National Safety Month, so check out NSC.org and learn how to prevent slips and falls in your home.

If you prefer prepping with the monthly list, go to this pdf copy of The June 2012 List.

MY CURRENT GIVEAWAY: Four lucky winners will receive my upcoming "12-Month Food Storage Organizer." Go here for more details. Thanks everyone for your input. I love it!

And if you haven't participated in the poll on the top right sidebar, please do so! Much appreciated.

June 3, 2012

Mormon Messages: Dare to Stand Alone

Sometimes it isn't easy, but there are times when we have to stand alone in our convictions and beliefs. President Thomas S. Monson shares an experience he had in the Navy when he had to stand alone and reminds us that "we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven."

June 2, 2012

Teaching Teens to Grocery Shop

My daughter is headed off to college in the fall, so I decided to work harder to teach my two teens how to meal plan and grocery shop this summer. During the school year they are extremely busy with school, church activities and after school sports, but sometimes when a mom pampers too much it is more of a disservice. So I am repenting.

We had "the discussion" yesterday, and every other week it will be their responsibility to create the dinner menus, the grocery list, and go shopping with me. Today I worked with my 16 year-old.

Not wanting to overwhelm her, she only worked on dinner menus and used my Master Menus and a blank Menu Plan worksheet. I left my bright daughter alone to figure out what she wanted. She did a great job as shown here.


Later, I discussed her menus with her. Because I knew the main dish ingredients by heart, I could say, "Spaghetti requires noodles and the homemade sauce requires ground beef, canned tomatoes, onions and spices. I have everything, but I don't have the ground beef." So she added the ground beef to a copy of My Fridge List which is our grocery list.


If I was unsure of having an ingredient, I told her to look in this or that cupboard. It is always nice to shop from your own home. We looked at the grocery store newspaper ad to see what was on sale as well. When we were done with the dinners, she added a few snack, breakfast and lunch items. Then we added a few coupons, and headed out the door. The planning took about half an hour.

At the store, I let her push the grocery cart, choose the food, and fill the produce bags. It was fun to teach her how to choose a cantaloupe or an avocado. During this 45 minute trek she started getting hungry and tired of this project. I led her to the bakery for a free cookie, then reminded her of all the times I had done the shopping for her. She has a new appreciation for me, but it is still a new and tedious experience for her.

She actually thinks she is too young for this! I just smiled at that. If these teens can create Power Point presentations, drive cars, and master an iPhone, surely they are old enough to plan menus and grocery shop.

I suspect my daughter will remember 10% of what I said today, however, she gets to do it again in a few weeks. And someday she will do it all by herself.

June 1, 2012

June 2012: Monthly Food Storage Shopping List


As we enter the month of June with its long sunny days, our food storage focus will be grains and bread making. How much of these items you store is your choice. You have your agency. If your budget and space is tight, you may want to focus on a 1 to 3 month supply. But, I focus on storing a year's supply of grains because I have a large basement. You don't have to. However, I don't buy a year's supply all at once either. I buy a few cases of #10 cans each year and gradually build up and replenish our supply. That way our items don't expire at the same time.

Look at the following list for food storage suggestions for one adult. Multiply amounts for other family members. Then realistically decide if you can store that much. If you can't, divide your amount in half. You don't have to store a 3-month supply. Think, then think some more.

June 2012 
(If you're new around here, read how to use my shopping lists)

Some of you store grains in buckets lined with Mylar bags. I prefer small cans as they are easier for me to find places to store. Do what works best for your home situation. If you don't know how to store grains, contact a service missionary at an LDS Home Storage Center.

Many of you have indicated to me that you can't tolerate wheat. I've never had that problem, so you may want to do some research to find alternative grains that you can tolerate. Go to Whole Grain Council for a chart of Gluten-free grains. And check out Chef Brad's site for the history of various grains.

Remember, if you are following the LDS 4-Step Approach to Home Storage, long-term grains are to be gathered after the first three steps: a 3-month food storage supply of food, drinking water, and a financial reserve, which can be gathered simultaneously. However, if you want to start building a small supply of grains to be part of your 3-month supply, and can afford it, and have your emergency water stored (got to have that!), go for it. 

May I suggest you focus on gathering grains that your family is accustomed to eating right now, and sample other types of grains before you buy them in large quantities. Otherwise it could be a waste of your money.

All grains do not have a long-term shelf life of 20 - 30 years. So, I've put together a chart to help you see the shelf life of some grains. Caution: I'm not an expert!

SHELF LIFE OF GRAINS (stored at 75 degrees or less):

30 Years - Wheat, Hard red or white
30 Years - Rice, white
30 Years - Oats, quick or regular
15 Years - Buckwheat
8 - 12 Years - Corn, Sweet
8 - 12 Years - Flax
8 - 12 Years - Millet
8 Years - Barley, Pearl
8 Years - Quinoa
8 Years - Rye

As you think about grains, you may want to read "The Word of Wisdom," the scripture containing the law of health for Mormons. It contains which foods are good for us, and which are not. And the promises of protection to those who obey it.

Check out the monthly food storage list link at the top of this post for a complete list of suggestions of what to gather this month. And watch for my weekly posts.

Best wishes,

Valerie



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