January 27, 2013

Food Storage Goals: January Week 5 - Fruit juice

This week our food storage focus is bottled or canned juice.

STEP 1: 3-Month Supply (per adult) - 3 x 64 oz. juice or equivalent; bottled or canned
Why?: Useful everyday beverage and for illnesses. Also, helpful during power outages. Consider the needs of young children and what they would drink during a disaster. There are various juices to choose from. However, because of the expense and shelf space it takes, you probably don't want to have a large supply. We don't use this every day, but periodically I bring out some juice to serve to my family. I keep it on a shelf my family does not see all the time, but I know it is there.
Shelf Life: see Still Tasty.com

STEP 2: Drinking Water - 14 gallons (FEMA) or about 4x24 ct. cases of bottled water
(Skip this step if you've already got it.)
Tip: Stock up this month! It's everywhere today, but it may not be tomorrow. Buy more to replenish what you use.
Shelf Life: see Still Tasty.com

STEP 3: Financial Reserve (per person) - $2.00 +/- per week
(Skip this if you've already accumulated your goal.)
Tip: Start your fund this month! Use only for emergencies. Keep some in the bank and some cash at home.

STEP 4: Longer-Term Supply (per adult) - no item this week

OTHER STORAGE ITEMS
Home Storage: Toiletries Group 1 (per adult) - Deodorant 3 ea.
Tip: Use your best judgement to figure out how much to stock up on for your family. A 3-month or 12 -month supply may be affordable for some families, but a 1 month supply may work for others. Once you know how much you want to stock, try to restock it if you use some.

Preparedness Goal - Make a 72-hour kit.
How: Look for ideas on the right side of my blog under "DIY 72-Hour Kits" or my Pinterest board.

Equipment Goal - Manual can opener.
How: Many people these days have automatic can openers. Make sure you have a manual one in case you ever need it in an emergency.

Weekly Inventory - Breakfast item
How: Count your supply of breakfast items such as cold cereal, oats or oatmeal, pancake mix or syrup, etc. We will be restocking next month.

Good luck on your weekly goals. You CAN do it! Here is the printout of the January 2013 Food Storage list.

Instructions:
Each week, I post various food storage and emergency items to gather. By stocking up year round, you build up your supplies economically, use some, leave some on the shelf, and buy some more. Cycling keeps your items fresh and integrated into your everyday diet. I've incorporated the LDS 4-Step Approach to Home Storage, but with my suggested items to gather.

Work on STEP 1, 2 and 3, before moving to STEP 4: Long-Term Food Supply. It may take you awhile to gather your 3-Month Supply, water and a financial reserve. As long as you are moving forward, that's what matters most. Only gather what you can afford, will eat, and choose goals you have time for. Substitute other foods that work for your family.

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January 26, 2013

Video: "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father"

Every day I watch my husband leave for work without complaint. He does this because he loves us, and I am grateful for him and the example he is to me and my children. I hope that my boys will desire to pattern their lives after their father as they raise their own families. From what I have seen so far, they are.

The following Mormon Messages video shows the love a father has for his family. I loved it! We need more men like this. Men who understand their role in caring and providing for their family. Enjoy!

Use a 52-Week Inventory Schedule to Count Food Storage Weekly

Counting my food storage used to be so time consuming until I came up with a 52-Week Food Storage Inventory Schedule. After studying how various restaurants take their inventories, it became clear to me that they don't count food once a year like many of us do. Food has to be managed regularly and carefully in order to keep it safe for human consumption. There is much to be learned from the restaurant industry because they are the guys trying to stay in business by being the most cost effective and safe. And we should be careful too.

It used to take me 3 or 4 hours to count my food storage. But now I count a small amount of it in 15 minutes or less each week. Of course that will be easier for some than others, depending on how many items you have and how organized your shelves are. 

So, I designed a 52-Week Food Storage Inventory schedule that has me counting a category of items weekly. Some items are counted every 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. For example, you might count Fuel & Light items every 6 months, but Breakfast & Snack items every 3 months.

You may get behind taking an inventory each week because life gets busy. When I was out of town for nine days, I counted two categories this week: Water and Paper & Plastic. Life is unpredictable, but it wasn't difficult to count both areas. I enjoy straightening the items, throwing away a few boxes and bags, and seeing what more is needed. As I'm looking, I write down a few items I might want to buy during my next Costco shopping trip (toilet paper, paper plates, storage bags, and dish detergent).

I keep my inventory on a spreadsheet on my laptop, but I'm actually working on a more simplified list for a small binder. A paper list and pencil will do the job too. Or hanging lists on a cupboard or pantry door. An iPad would certainly be easier to carry than a laptop. See more ideas on my Pinterest board. Here is my food storage inventory schedule:

52-Week Inventory Schedule
MO WK CATEGORIES X
JAN 1 Water 6M
JAN 2 Beverages 3M
JAN 3 Freezer 3M
JAN 4 Toiletries  3M
JAN 5 Breakfast Items 3M
FEB 6 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
FEB 7 Snacks 3M
FEB 8 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
FEB 9 Baking Basics 3M
MAR 10 First Aid & Medicine  6M
MAR 11 Grains/Pasta/Potatoes 6M
MAR 12 Oils & Fats 6M
MAR 13 Emergency Kits 6M
APR 14 Fuel & Light 6M
APR 15 Beverages 3M
APR 16 Cleaning 6M
APR 17 Freezer 3M
APR 18 Toiletries  3M
MAY 19 Breakfast Items 3M
MAY 20 Paper & Plastics  3M
MAY 21 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
MAY 22 Baking Basics 3M
JUN 23 Condiments  6M
JUN 24 Spices 6M
JUN 25 Snacks 3M
JUN 26 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
JUL 27 Water 6M
JUL 28 Beverages 3M
JUL 29 Freezer 3M
JUL 30 Toiletries  3M
JUL 31 Breakfast Items 3M
AUG 32 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
AUG 33 Snacks 3M
AUG 34 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
AUG 35 Baking Basics 3M
SEP 36 First Aid & Medicine  6M
SEP 37 Grains/Pasta/Potatoes 6M
SEP 38 Oils & Fats 6M
SEP 39 Emergency Equipment 6M
SEP 40 Fuel & Light 6M
OCT 41 Cleaning 6M
OCT 42 Beverages 3M
OCT 43 Freezer 3M
OCT 44 Toiletries  3M
NOV 45 Breakfast Items 3M
NOV 46 Paper & Plastics  3M
NOV 47 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
NOV 48 Baking Basics 3M
DEC 50 Condiments  6M
DEC 51 Spices 6M
DEC 49 Snacks 3M
DEC 52 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
Note: Each year, the months may not always correlate with the week number.
©PreparedLDSFamily

Printable for personal use
52-Week Food Storage Inventory Schedule.pdf
(Note: 9/2/13 Correction made)

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January 24, 2013

Letters From My Readers

Over the past few months I've received some wonderful letters from my readers, and selected a few to share. I love all of your letters and comments, because I learn from each of you. You make me laugh, you make me cry, but best of all you keep me motivated to write. I want you to know that I never give credit to myself for what I have accomplished with this blog. I am thankful to my Father in Heaven who hears my prayers, listens to my concerns, counsels me, buoys me up and helps me create for you, my brothers and sisters. Thank you, everyone! 

December 19, 2012
"I just wanted to write to you and thank you for your blog. I was raised LDS and in my early teens my family fell away slowly. I am now married and have a daughter and I have asked my husband (he is a non member and was raised Presbyterian) to please attend church with me because I want to be active again, I have just had an un-easy feeling and ever since attending and learning more I have so much more peace.. I have been slowly, as our budget allows us, trying to build up our food storage.. I am still in the 3-month stage so I am at the very beginning but I spend as much time as I can trying to research how to go about it in the most effective way, and where to find the best priced bulk for when I get to start my long-term storage. I just came across your blog tonight and it is such a blessing.. I have previously made lists of where to start, what I will need, approx. costs of each step and my end goal. I have also realized rotating is important so I am now searching for good books to teach how to incorporate your food storage into daily use so that you keep it fresh and when you do need to sustain life on it, you will already know what to do with it, being a young wife and mother I am still learning my way around the kitchen so throwing basic ingredients at me and telling me to whip something up.. well it intimidates me a bit ;). I am not really sure why I have written you my story.. I just am very happy to have found your blog and so inspired to keep slowly building to my end goal! I also know that I will be referencing to your blog alot now :) I wish you and your family the best and thank you SO incredibly much for taking your own time to build this blog." T.W.

January 3, 2012
"I'm not LDS but I love the fact that I know I can go to the cannery in next state Ga and pick up supplies. I buy in bulk there and bring home to put up in mylar bags. I can't put in #10 cans there, since I'm not a member, but they are helpful, kind and don't have a problem explaining anything to you. I buy my mylar bags either there or online at the LDS online store. I have slowly built up my storage this way. The drive is 2 half hours but worth it! That is why I love this site, sharing all that knowledge with anyone. I appreciate the hard work and thank you for sharing it with me!" M.P. - Georgia

January 4, 2012
"Thank you for what you are teaching. Our children range in ages from 30 - 4. I lived in the Bay Area for 30+ years. Living in California's earthquake ridden area I always had food storage, emergency back packs for my family as well as emergency school kits for my school age children. When I moved here to Sparks Nevada, 15 years ago, I got rid of all reminders of living an an earthquake area. What a foolish thing to do! I do still keep some food storage but that's about it. This year I want to rebuild my emergency kits, and my food storage. Thanks to your website I feel I have found someone who can help me. Thank you. This month we are starting with your January food storage goals and getting containers for our 72 hour kits. My husband & I are both excited to be getting prepared for emergencies, with your help, we will be prepared by the end of this year. We are planning to give each of our Kids & Grandkids fully stocked emergency kits for Christmas next year. Again, we thank the Lord for guiding me to your web site." K.H. - Sparks, Nevada

January 17, 2012
"I love your site and try and share as much on my fb page when you post or when I get weekly emails. I'm so excited about getting our weekly storage together. My family and I have been in the Gospel for 6 years now. I have always known about the Welfare teachings and food storage stuff but here in Australia OMG its just crazy trying to find alternatives to the rich and endless supplies you have in the States. We are so in the dark ages, most of my stuff has to be ordered from camping shops online, ebay etc. Finding websites and local suppliers for storage containers and Shelf reliance food is crazy!!!!!! and VERY expensive down under, but I'm coping, just taking longer trying to source equivalent to your stuff. I ordered my Tang from Ebay australia because it was so cheap to do and free shipping from USA, also when looking for equivalent products here in Australia I have to check out the ingredients and that also takes time. I wish we had an LDS food storage center here. I sourced the water bricks in the US and decided to order a pallet to be shipped to Australia which is 140 water bricks in total, they can also store our longterm shelf products as well as water. I was hoping to get a few families together to share the shipping cost. After an email was sent early this morning my inbox was flooded lol..... thats just crazy and really funny, are people sitting back to wait for information to come to them lol....I love our family money box @$2 pp a week which is $14 wk for my family. My children explain the money box to every visitor that comes in our house lol.. Ok sorry for the long novel I better finish here. Thank you for your time." T - Australia

January 20, 2012
"I just want to, again, let you know how much you and your website have helped me and my family. This past Thursday we had a fast, but significant snowstorm here in southwest Virginia. Our schools closed early in anticipation of this weather event. As I drove passed the grocery stores I noticed how full the parking lots were and began a mental list of things I might need to do or buy before the storm hit. I thought of the many things I have read on your site and realized I needed nothing in the areas of food and supplies. I also realized I did not have anything pressing to do at the house. I had plenty of food and water, charged flashlights, alternative heat, and alternative ways to cook if needed. All I really needed was to have all my family members safely home. I pulled into my driveway as several neighbors were leaving for the store. At that moment, the snow began to fall. What did I do while others were at the store? I made myself a cup of hot chocolate, bundled up and took the dog outside to sit on our front porch to watch the snow fall quietly. It was a very peaceful experience watching the breath of God fall from the sky creating perfection around my beautiful Appalachian mountain home. I could not help but compare it to what God has done for us. My dog and I sat outside for about half an hour and then went inside and snuggled up to a movie as my family returned home, one by one, safe and sound. I am not LDS, but as a believer feel we share many of the same important beliefs. As always, I thank you for your guidance. I do enjoy the facebook "reminders." Keep up the great work." K.P. - Virginia

Thank you!

January 20, 2013

Food Storage Goals: January Week 4 - Dry Milk

This week our food storage focus is dry milk.

STEP 1: 3-Month Supply (per adult) - 4 lbs. or 1 #10 can dry non-fat powdered milk
Why?: (Remember: this is a small supply of this item so it does not have to be stored in a long-term container. If you don't think you will use it, then consider why are you storing it?) Dry milk is useful for everyday drinking, baking, or for use in a power outage emergency. Contains necessary calcium. Aseptic boxes of milk such as Gossner milk or Hershey's could be substituted, but they do take space. Some people store almond milk, coconut milk, or a dry milk alternative such as Morning Moos.
Tip: Dry milk comes in instant and non-instant forms. Instant dissolves quickly in water, however non-instant is excellent for baking and cooking. Instant tends to be more expensive and tastes better for drinking. Instant milk weighs less than non-instant milk. Store in a cool, dry place.
For recipes and tips: Go to my dry milk Pinterest board. Decide if you will use it for drinking or baking/cooking? This is such a personal decision. Personally, my storage contains mostly LDS dry milk for baking/cooking because of the price. I also have a small supply of Morning Moos (milk alternative) for drinking. Do what works best for your family and finances. If you are not sure, start with a small amount and learn to use it. Contact the manufacturer for a sample.
Shelf Life: Check with the manufacturer.
Shopping: Here are a few brands:
- LDS Non-Instant Dry Milk 4.1 lb./$8.60/20 year unopened shelf life. (Must can it yourself for this price)
- Augason Farms Country Fresh Instant Milk 1.81 lb./$11.25/10 year unopened shelf-life.
- Thrive Instant Milk 3.38 lb./$20.69/25 year unopened shelf-life
- Morning Moos Milk Alternative 3.5 lb./$15.75/25 year unopened shelf-life.

STEP 2: Drinking Water - 14 gallons (FEMA) or about 4x24 ct. cases of bottled water
Skip this if you've already got it.
Tip: Stock up this month! It's everywhere today, but it may not be tomorrow. Buy more to replenish what you have used.
Shelf Life: see Still Tasty.com

STEP 3: Financial Reserve (per person) - $2.00 +/- per week
Skip this if you've already accumulated your goal.
Tip: Start your fund this month! Use only for emergencies. Keep some in the bank and some cash at home.

STEP 4: Longer-Term Supply (per adult) - 16 lbs. or 4 #10 can dry powdered milk
Tip: Non-instant milk is an excellent long-term storage item. I buy a few cans at a time so they don't all expire at the same time.

Home Storage: Toiletries Group 1 (per adult) - Feminine or Incontinence items
Tip: Use your best judgement to figure out how much to stock up on for your family.

Preparedness Goal - Learn how to use dry powdered milk
How: If you are going to stock dry milk, learn how to use it. Practice this week. Go to my Pinterest board for ideas.

Equipment Goal - Recipe binder
Tip: If you are just starting out, learn to collect some family favorite food storage recipes. You can store them in a binder for easy access. Look for recipe storage ideas on my Pinterest board.

Weekly Inventory - Toiletries
Tip: Count the toiletry items you have in your home. Items such as toilet paper, soap, feminine items, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. Go to this post if you need ideas on how much to keep in stock.

Good luck on your weekly goals. You CAN do it! Here is the printout of the January 2013 Food Storage list.

Instructions:
Each week, I post various food storage and emergency items to gather. By stocking up year round, you build up your supplies economically, use some, leave some on the shelf, and buy some more. Cycling keeps your items fresh and integrated into your everyday diet. I've incorporated the LDS 4-Step Approach to Home Storage, but with my suggested items to gather.

Work on STEP 1, 2 and 3, before moving to STEP 4: Long-Term Food Supply. It may take you awhile to gather your 3-Month Supply, water and a financial reserve. As long as you are moving forward, that's what matters most. Only gather what you can afford, will eat, and choose goals you have time for. Substitute other foods that work for your family.

January 19, 2013

Video: "Good Things to Come"

As I look for Mormon Messages videos to share with my readers, I usually say a prayer before I begin my quest and ask Heavenly Father to help me find a video that will help just one person. He always knows who needs encouragement or to feel his spirit. For the one who needs this video, remember . . . don't quit!

The following story is told by Jeffrey R. Holland, an apostle of the Church. He was also my BYU president years ago and I have never forgotten the impact he had on my life then, and he still does today.

In this story, he shares his own experience years ago "as a poor young father with a broken-down family car and testifies that for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are better days and good things to come."


You can read his entire talk at this link. I hope you enjoy watching.


January 18, 2013

Make a 72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps: Step 2 - Shelter

LDS relief: tent village, Haiti from Deseret News
This next post had my mind digging deeply at 4 o'clock in the morning. It should have been easy to write about evacuation shelter items for a 72-hour kit, but I kept thinking of 101 worst-case scenarios. With the unusually cold weather across the U.S., sheltering-in-place at home would be your first choice after a disaster, but it isn't always possible. So, what would I use for shelter in our family emergency supplies?





Step 2: Shelter
  • tent
  • tarp
  • rope
Tent - Over the years we've had little tents and huge tents. From the two-man tents left over from the Boy Scout days to the 8 man tent our family used while camping. I am lucky to have several to choose from. I chose to keep a medium-sized tent near our packs in our emergency closet. I can't carry it on my back, but I could throw it in the back of a vehicle. I'm also digging out a few two-man tents this week to add to the stash.

A tent should provide privacy, warmth, be waterproof and lightweight. Most tents today are quick and easy to set up. The fact that I've never set up our tent all by myself is not comforting. I've always assisted others. So we will have to practice for family home evening.

After a disaster, you may end up camping at a community center, church, park or field with a lot of other people, so privacy is important. Don't expect to find Red Cross volunteers waiting with a comfy cot with your name on it when you arrive. If possible, be self-sufficient and bring your own tent and other items. Tents are always on sale, but are the least expensive at the end of the summer.

Tarp - In my 72-hour kit supplies, I have a blue tarp. It doesn't fit in a backpack, but I keep it in a 5 gallon bucket with other emergency supplies. I hope I never have to build a lean-to with it, but . . . you never know. The tarp is for underneath the tent as an added barrier or to make a much needed outhouse or as a rain shelter. Look for one at Walmart or a hardware store. Make sure you have the right size.

Rope - Some nylon rope is useful for all kinds of needs like tying things down or to a tree. Look for one at Walmart or a hardware store.

Keep it simple. In closing, let's look at various scenarios.

Best-case disaster scenarios
  • My husband heroically drives home in his noble white 4Runner to help us.
  • I'm able to throw all my stuff in the back of our car and drive to a hotel.
  • I am at home and have access to my amazing supplies
  • The disaster lasts 72-hours
Worst-case disaster scenario
  • My house is inaccessible and I have to head who knows where on foot. 
  • I was driving in my car, had to pull over, and am stuck in traffic. Have to use what's stored in the car. Scary.
  • I am with two neighborhood kids whose mom is at work, my two daughters and the dog and have to figure out how to calm, shelter and feed them.
  • I have to live in a tent city for several months.
Check out 30 pictures at Deseret News: LDS Relief: Tent village surrounds Mormon meetinghouse in Haiti.

I hope some of these ideas helped you. Good luck figuring out what you want to use for your emergency shelter. Prayer is to best resource.


72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps

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January 16, 2013

Family Home Evening Lesson: 3-Month Food Storage

To help our families understand what a 3-month food storage supply is, I created this family home evening lesson. There will be one for each of the four steps of the LDS Home Storage program. Hope you like it!

Family Home Evening Lesson: 3-Month Food Storage
Preparation:
Lay Up In Store,” Keith B. McMullin, Ensign, April 2007.
To Men of the Priesthood,” Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 2002.
All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage” download pamphlet at lds.org

Opening Song:  “Build An Ark,” Friend, September 2010, download sheet music or listen in the lds.org Music Library. Visuals for teaching at SugarDoodle.net
Opening Prayer:

Lesson: For many years, prophets have counseled us to prepare for times of difficulty. President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes. … We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. … I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all. Begin in a small way, … and gradually build toward a reasonable objective.” To Men of the Priesthood, Ensign, Nov. 2002, 58.

Story 1: Noah (Picture Gospel Art Picture Book, no. 7 and no. 8) (Watch at Old Testament Scripture Stories, chapter 6)
A long time ago, the prophet Noah told the people to repent. The people did not want to listen to the prophet because they were so wicked. The Lord told Noah to build a big boat or ark. Noah worked hard to build it before the rain came. He wanted to be prepared and help his family. He knew that if he listened to the Lord they would be protected. The rain did come and Noah and his family were saved. If we listen to the prophet today, and prepare ourselves, we will be blessed too.

Story 2: Joseph (Watch at Old Testament Scripture Stories, chapter 13, advance to 1:23 to 3:16)
A long time ago, a righteous man named Joseph lived in Egypt. One night the Pharaoh or King of Egypt had a dream. The Lord helped Joseph understand the Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph told the Pharaoh that his dream meant there would be seven years with plenty of food in the land and seven years without food or a famine. He counseled Pharaoh to gather extra food and save it for the years when there would not be much food. Pharaoh listened to Joseph, stored some food, and saved his people during the years of the famine. (see Genesis 41:1–57)

Like Joseph, we can prepare a food storage for our family. We can start with a 3-month supply of food in our home to help us during hard times such as floods, earthquakes, storms, illness and job loss. Extra food in our cupboards will keep us from being hungry. We can take care of ourselves and help our neighbors with our food.

The extra food we keep in our home needs to be shelf-stable foods or food that can sit on the shelf in the cupboard instead of being in the refrigerator. Buying a few extra foods each week when we grocery shop and then saving them at home is how we build our food storage supply.

Activity: Food Storage Scavenger Hunt
Divide into teams. Each team must find the following food items in the kitchen:
-        3 different canned foods, 2 different boxed foods, 1 jarred food, and 1 bagged item
-        The winner is the first team that finds all the items.

Conclusion: We have been promised if we follow the prophet, our family will be blessed. We can set a goal to add more and more food to our food storage each week so we will have plenty to eat during difficult times.

Closing Song:Come Listen to A Prophet’s Voice,” Hymn 21
Closing Prayer:

Refreshment: Pumpkin Cookies                   
Preheat oven 350°
1 box spice cake mix                                                 
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin                              
12 oz bag of chocolate chips                          
                                                                        
1. Mix cake mix and pumpkin with blender or spoon. 
2. Add chocolate chips.
3. Drop about 2 T. per cookie on prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake 350° for 20 – 25 minutes. Cool and eat!

Printable lesson

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January 13, 2013

Food Storage Goals: January Week 3 - Powdered Fruit Drink

This week our food storage focus is powdered fruit drink mix.

STEP 1: 3-Month Supply (per adult) - 24 oz. or 1/4 #10 can powder fruit drink mix or Tang
Why?: Useful everyday beverage and for power outage emergencies. Adds flavor to off-tasting water. Contains many vitamins and 100% of vitamin C. You could substitute a sugar-free drink mix, but you give up the added vitamins so you would want to stock up on vitamins.
Tip: It always pays to compare prices.
Shopping & Shelf Life: At the LDS Home Storage Center/Cannery you may can a 6.10 lb. can of fruit drink mix for $8.50 which has a 2 year shelf life. Sam's Club in Utah has a 4.5 lb. Tang for about $7.00.

STEP 2: Drinking Water - 14 gallons (FEMA) or about 4x24 ct. cases of bottled water
Skip this if you've already got it.
Tip: Stock up this month! It's everywhere today, but it may not be tomorrow. Buy more to replenish what you have used.
Shelf Life: see Still Tasty.com

STEP 3: Financial Reserve (per person) - $2.00 +/- per week
Skip this if you've already accumulated your goal.
Tip: Start your fund this month! Use only for emergencies. Keep some in the bank and some cash at home.

STEP 4: Longer-Term Supply (per adult) - Even the fruit drink mix is not a long-term (20-30 year shelf life) storage item, you could keep a year's supply of it. However, if you don't think you will use it often, then store a 3-month supply.

Home Storage: Toiletries Group 1 (per adult) - Shampoo 3 ea.
Tip: Use your best judgement to figure out how much to stock up on for your family. A 3-month or 12 -month supply may be affordable for some families, but a 1 month supply may work for others.

Preparedness Goal - Organize the freezer
Tip: Group like items on each shelf and hang an inventory sheet on your door. Check out some great organizational ideas on my Pinterest board. Don't pack items too tightly. Air needs to circulate for greatest efficiency. It functions best if there is some air space between items. You can find freezer storage tips at this post.

Equipment Goal - Food storage shelves
Tip: If you must get some shelves, look at ideas on my Pinterest board. You may already have room in your kitchen cupboards or under a bed for your 3-month supply. Check the classifieds for used shelves. Bookshelves work well too. Spend money on food, and less on shelves.

Weekly Inventory - Freezer
Tip: Even though freezer foods are not shelf-stable, we all use them. As you clean out your freezer this week, take an inventory count of the items you have stored. Throw away items with freezer burn. Freezer foods do NOT store indefinitely. Hang an inventory sheet on the freezer door so you can see what you need. See StillTasty.com for shelf life.

Good luck on your weekly goals. You CAN do it! Here is the printout of the January 2013 Food Storage list.

Instructions:
Each week, I post various food storage and emergency items to gather. By stocking up year round, you build up your supplies economically, use some, leave some on the shelf, and buy some more. Cycling keeps your items fresh and integrated into your everyday diet. I've incorporated the LDS 4-Step Approach to Home Storage, but with my suggested items to gather.

Work on STEP 1, 2 and 3, before moving to STEP 4: Long-Term Food Supply. It may take you awhile to gather your 3-Month Supply, water and a financial reserve. As long as you are moving forward, that's what matters most. Only gather what you can afford, will eat, and choose goals you have time for. Substitute other foods that work for your family.

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Listen to Provident Living Programs on the Mormon Channel

Check out the Provident Living series of programs from the Mormon Channel. These audio programs help strengthen our desire to improve ourselves in areas such as education, emergency preparedness, finances, health, and home storage. Host Val Dawson talks with experts who share wonderful preparedness ideas to help us help our families.

January 12, 2013

Make a 72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps: Step 1 - Bedding

To simplify making a 72-hour kit, I divided "the big list" into 12 steps. I am not an expert on 72-Hour kits, but I get the highest number of hits on my blog about this topic, so I'm taking it seriously. I want to help you succeed and get the job done. Breaking this down into the following steps will hopefully  make the task less daunting.



It may surprise you to see that I put the container towards the end of the process. Most people want to get that item first. But you could end up with the wrong size or container, so I suggest waiting. Don't "put the cart before the horse." For now, put your items in a box, bag or tote. Keep items small, lightweight and compact. Let's get moving.

Step 1: Bedding
  • blanket 
  • emergency reflective blanket 
  • sleeping bag
Blanket - I like fleece blankets because they are warm, cheap and available everywhere after Christmas. But some people recommend wool blankets. Find one you would imagine using on a camping trip as you sit around a campfire. Make sure it fits around your body and feet. You probably have one in your house right now. Even though it won't fit in a backpack, it could be rolled up in your sleeping bag.

Emergency Reflective Blanket
- These are lightweight, compact and cheap, and fit perfectly inside a kit. They use your own body heat to keep you warm and are waterproof. They can be found at Walmart, hardware stores or emergency supply stores.

Sleeping bag
- Consider the cold temperatures in your area before purchasing, as most bags have a temperature rating. If you are lucky, yours will come with a nylon stuff bag. If not, you can put it in a kitchen trash bag or a Ziploc Big Bag. If you already own a sleeping bag, don't worry about finding a perfect one. Just add it to your pile. I store our sleeping bags in our emergency closet near our 72-hour kits. If you can't afford one right now for everyone in your family, you can always gather them one-at-a-time this year as they come on sale.

Go get Step 1 done today!


72-Hour Kit in 12 Steps

January 7, 2013

Food Storage Goals: January Week 2 - Cocoa Drink Mix

This week our food storage focus is cocoa drink mix.

STEP 1: 3-Month Supply (per adult) - 24 oz. or 1/4 #10 can cocoa drink mix
Recipes: see a homemade version here.
Why?: Useful during cold weather and emergencies to warm someone's tummy.
Tip: You can make a homemade version using non-fat dry milk out of your food storage. However having a prepared supply is easy to grab for emergency use. If finances are tight, prepare your own.
Shelf Life: LDS Home Storage Center/Cannery has a 5.8 lb. can for $9.90 with a 2 year shelf life. Or check the shelf life on the brand you purchase. Costco and Sam's Club in Utah carry a 4 lb. size for about $9.00

STEP 2: Drinking Water - 14 gallons (FEMA) or about 4x24 ct. cases of bottled water
Tip: Stock up this month! It's everywhere today, but it may not be tomorrow. Buy more to replenish what you use. Skip this if you've already got it.
Shelf Life: see Still Tasty.com

STEP 3: Financial Reserve (per person) - $2.00 +/- per week
Tip: Start your fund this month! Use only for emergencies. Keep some in the bank and some cash at home.

STEP 4: Longer-Term Supply (per adult) - None this week.

Home Storage: Toiletries Group 1 (per adult) - Soap/body wash
Tip: Use your best judgment to figure out how much to stock. It's cheaper to buy in bulk. Sam's Club has 16/4oz bars of Lever2000 for $7.70 or .48 cents each.

Preparedness Goal - Learn how to purify water.
How: This FEMA handout has the instructions. Print it and keep in your emergency binder. Boiling is the safest method.
Tip: "Never ration water unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow." FEMA
Emergency water sources: Melted ice cubes, undamaged water heater, liquid from canned foods, drained pipes. Do not drink from pools/spas, toilet bowls, water beds, hot water boilers.

Equipment Goal - Containers for drinking water
Tip: Check at camping or emergency supply stores. If you decide to store water in your own containers, choose those that are food grade safe. Glass is not recommended because of danger of breakage. Remember the container will be heavy after you fill it, so choose the size carefully. If you are using commercially bottled water, you can skip this goal.

Weekly Inventory - Beverages
Tip: Check your beverages for breakage, spillage and replenish if needed. Items such as shelf stable juice, soda, sports drinks, powdered drink mixes, lunch box drinks, or other canned beverages can be considered food storge.

Good luck on your weekly goals. You CAN do it! Go here to see a printout of the January 2013 Food Storage list.

Instructions:
Each week, I post various food storage and emergency items to gather. By stocking up year round, you build up your supplies economically, use some, leave some on the shelf, and buy some more. Cycling keeps your items fresh and integrated into your everyday diet. I've incorporated the LDS 4-Step Approach to Home Storage, but with my suggested items to gather.

Work on STEP 1, 2 and 3, before moving to STEP 4: Long-Term Food Supply. It may take you awhile to gather your 3-Month Supply, water and a financial reserve. As long as you are moving forward, that's what matters most. Only gather what you can afford, will eat, and choose goals you have time for. Substitute other foods that work for your family.

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January 5, 2013

Begin A Financial Reserve For Emergencies

A great resolution this year is to put aside some money each week for emergencies. It's obvious we should be doing this, but few consistently have. Home storage is more than food storage. It's living providently and preparing for adversity. Some may feel they have nothing to spare. But even $2.00 per week will build a financial reserve.

Look at this wonderful promise from President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Set your houses in order. 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” ("To the Boys and to the Men,Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54).

LDS Church leaders have counseled: “We encourage members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.” (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage)

I love reading this phrase: "with careful planning, you can, over time." The key is careful planning and over time. Of course you could put the fund together quickly if you already have the cash.

A financial reserve is STEP 3 of the 4-Step Approach to Home Storage, but it can be done simultaneously with STEP 1: 3-Month Food Storage Supply and STEP 2: Drinking Water if your finances allow it.

STEP 3: FINANCIAL RESERVE "Establish a financial reserve by saving a little money each week and gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount." ProvidentLiving.org

A financial reserve is something we want to create before we work on a longer-term food storage supply: cans, buckets or Mylar bags of wheat, rice and beans, etc. We might need the financial reserve sooner than we think, and it helps prevent us from going into debt for emergencies.

Personally, I make regular transfers from a checking account into a savings account. A couple of times a year, I get a sum of money out of the bank in small bills and keep it in my home to use for emergencies. So I have it in both places. I don't like to have it all in the bank because during a disaster, that money is inaccessible to me.

I also have a Rainy Day counting jar that is about the size of a mason jar. (See picture above.) Guess how much is in it? You will be shocked to know that it currently has $50.74 and it isn't even filled up yet.

So, what's a "reasonable amount" of money for a financial reserve? For some $100 may seem about all you can do, while others will gather several thousand dollars. Dave Ramsey, author of "The Total Money Makeover" recommends you start with $1000 as a goal, but Dave Ramsey has no idea what your finances are and neither do I. Only you can decide what your goal will be, but you need to decide and just have faith and do it.

Take a look at the following charts to see help you decide what you want as a goal.

Saving Weekly
$ PerAfter
Week52 Weeks
1.0052.00
2.00104.00
5.00260.00
10.00520.00
15.00780.00
20.001,040.00
25.001,300.00
30.001,560.00
35.001,820.00
40.002,080.00
45.002,340.00
50.002,600.00

Saving Monthly
$ Per After
Month 12 months
10.00 120.00
15.00 180.00
20.00 240.00
25.00 300.00
30.00 360.00
40.00 480.00
50.00 600.00
75.00 900.00
100.00 1,200.00

THINK ABOUT IT -
  • Emergency Scenario #1: You just went through a major disaster. You can't leave the city and need some supplies. The power is out and the grocery store isn't accepting ATM or credit cards, but they will take cash.
  • Emergency Scenario #2: You've suddenly been asked to evacuate because of a fire on the mountain near your home. You hope you can eventually drive to your sister's house out of town, but suddenly the roads are congested with traffic. Everything is at a standstill and you could only make it to the next town. You can't go back and you can't go forward. You need gas, food and water, and possibly a hotel room.
  • Emergency Scenario #3: Your youngest child is very ill. You need some medication from the pharmacist, but you left your wallet at work which is about 30 miles away.

EMERGENCY CASH SUGGESTIONS:
  • Put it in several locations. Some in the bank and some at home.
  • Protect it from water and heat damage.
  • Keep your cash at home in small bills like 1's, 5's, 10's (Some people in emergencies have paid $5 for a bottle of water because they didn't have change even though it's only worth 10 cents.)
  • Keep a small amount hidden in your car for roadside emergencies.
  • Keep a minimum of $100 per person at home.
  • Consider how you might use it in 72 hours - food, hotel, gas, etc. 
  • Make sure your trusted older children know where it is. You may not be home when they need it.
Through consistent effort you can succeed one step at a time. I know it because I'm doing it. And you CAN too.

Articles to Read:
Family Finances
Safely Gathered in: Keeping Cash at Home

After you've completed STEPS 1, 2 and 3, you can go on here to STEP 4: Longer-Term Supply



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January 3, 2013

New Food Storage Price List at LDS Home Storage Centers

As of January 1, 2013, the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints has changed prices on the Home Storage Center order form for items you may purchase or can. Thankfully prices on a few items have actually gone down. Yes!
  • A 25 lb. bag of white rice went down from $13.00 to $12.00
  • A 25 lb. bag of white flour went down from $13.30 to $8.85.

Perhaps I am the only person who has a reminder on my Google calendar to check prices every year, but I am thankful to have this resource as a place to gather food storage for my family.

To see the new prices, click this link.


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