May 20, 2013

Food Storage Goals: May Week 21 - Mayonaisse and Parmesan Cheese

For week 21, gather mayonaisse, parmesan cheese and other suggested items.

STEP 1: 3-MONTH SUPPLY (per adult) - Mayonnaise, parmesan cheese 20 ounces total.
Tip: Watch for great sales in the next few weeks on these items. You can certainly substitute other items for the ones I suggest. You may not think shelf-stable parmesan cheese is for you everyday, but if all you had to eat in a disaster was a can of green beans, your kids may appreciate a sprinkle on top. The suggested amount is a starting place. Don't go overboard! Consider what you use most often and stock more of that item. Or simplify and keep one in the fridge and one on the pantry shelf. Even though we will gather BBQ sauce, ketchup and mustard next week, there may be a great Memorial Day sale for these items this week. So don't be afraid to stock up.
Shelf Life: Varies. Check the label.

STEP 2: DRINKING WATER (per person; always keep in stock) - 14 gallons water
FEMA recommends 1 gallon per day of drinking water per person. That's about 4x24 ct. cases of bottled water per person. "You will also need water for food preparation, bathing, brushing teeth, and dish washing. Store a 3-5 day supply of water (at least 5 gallons for each person)." FEMA
Tip: Around Memorial Day, you can usually find a great price on bottled water. Small bottles are for short-term storage, so slowly go through your supply and replenish. More durable food grade containers are for long-term storage.
Shelf Life: small commercially prepared bottles store indefinitely. Other containers need to be refilled every 6 months. Store off your cement floor on 2x4's or on a shelf.

STEP 3: FINANCIAL RESERVE (per person) - $2.00 +/- per week
Tip: Add to your fund each week for emergencies. Keep some in the bank and some cash in small bills at home.

STEP 4: LONGER-TERM SUPPLY (per person) - Nothing this week

OTHER STORAGE ITEMS
FOOD PREP 1 - Plastic utensils
Tip: Having a small supply of plastic utensils can be useful during disasters when you may not have running water to wash dishes. They are also useful for those summer parties.

PREPAREDNESS GOAL - Photograph Home Contents
Tip: There is no excuse for not taking pictures of items in your home and the outside of your home. These days the ease of cell phone cameras, makes this a no brainer. Documenting your home contents will help if you ever need to show an insurance company what you own.

EQUIPMENT GOAL - Dutch Oven Supplies
Tip: If you are planning on cooking with a dutch oven during an emergency, this is a great time of year to gather your supplies because you will find them on sale.

WEEKLY INVENTORY - Beans, Meat & Soup
How: This week check your supply of these items. Are you stocking enough?

Good luck on your weekly goals. You CAN do it! Here is the printout of the May 2013 Food Storage List. If you are new around here, go to my START HERE page.

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“But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint;
that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place
ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ,
that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee,
that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”
2 Nephi 32:9

May 19, 2013

Aging Parents: The Emotional Side of Moving a Parent to a Senior Care Facility

Caring for aging parents is something we all face at some point in our lives, but it can happen so suddenly that you feel like you've just jumped on a roller coaster. The time has come that my mom needs to move into a skilled nursing facility, but I am blessed to have a husband who works at such a facility. So we are busy helping my parents prepare to move to Utah.

Imagine being able to ask the man you sleep with any question you have about senior care, and getting an immediate response. I can't say enough about Brad. I am truly blessed.

As a child, guilt creeps in as you consider these life altering changes for a parent. I can't imagine how my Dad feels as a spouse moving my mom to "that place." But we keep reminding ourselves that the extra care she needs is there and we physically can't do it all by ourselves. He has been amazing to work with on the preparations for both of them. And I have loved our visits on the phone where he shares memories and wisdom.

Dad is moving into a senior apartment in the building next door to Mom's skilled nursing facility so he can visit her every day. We are excited for that. And they can attend the same church branch (ward) together without him needing to take her in a car. How I love Utah!

My big sister who lives a few miles from my parents in Oregon, has been helping me figure out how to make this all happen with the least amount of stress possible for my parents. I am grateful for her. Support from family is so necessarry at times like this.

My parents are originally from Utah, so they are actually coming home. There are several relatives still here in the Salt Lake Valley and Utah is the crossroads for my out-of-state siblings as well. And my Dad is an amazing family historian and will love being close to the Family History Library; the largest library of its kind in the world.

Because this is a multi-care campus, as my father advances in age he can get the help he needs by moving to the other buliding and not have to make The Big Move again. He can move to the assisted living floor, get rehab and eventually to the skilled nursing facility if needed. I will be 25 minutes away, but it's a relief to know my husband works in the same facility 5 days a week.

I've learned that taking many visits beforehand to the facility you have chosen, really helps. I've made so many visits that on my last trip a woman in the senior apartments asked me if I was moving in! I told her I was looking for a place for my dad and she said, "I thought you were a bit young."

My first visit brought out all of my fears and emotions. No place could ever be good enough for my parents. Especially when their current home is just perfect for them. But my husband kept reassuring me it would be just fine. The key is focusing on the parent, and not on your own feelings. These types of changes are always hard on children of aging parents.

I remember looking at the senior apartments for Dad. I was critical and paid attention to details like "those plants need some water" and "that carpet looks a bit worn." I tried to imagine him eating lunch and dinner in the dining room with all these "old people." He has always been so strong and independent even at 80. My saving grace was the employees and how kind and attentive they were to the residents. As I watched them serve food and interact I could feel a warm, welcoming spirit.

The second time I visited the senior apartments I measured rooms. I tried to imagine my Dad there with his dog. Could his sofa fit on this wall? Could the picture that currently hangs over their fireplace hang here? How would we set up his office? He definitely wasn't going to need his king-sized bed.

On my visit to the room chosen for my mom, I passed several old people in wheelchairs in the halls. Why were they cluttering the halls? I talked with a nurse and she said they liked getting out of their rooms because they don't want to be in them all day. That was exactly what I would have done if I had been in their situation. As I explained to the nurse what care my mom needed, I felt as if I was apologizing for it. And the nurse confidently said, "That's what we do. We take care of all of that." I love that nurse. Nurses and CNA's are special people with Christlike hearts and hands.

When I looked in Mom's room for the first time, I could only think hospital. It was not at all like her current bedroom with the Shirley Temple dolls on the dresser and Shirley pictures on the walls. It was missing her dresser and the old sewing machine table with the T.V. on top. I tried to image her things in the room, and suddenly saw my mom's sweet face with her familiar gentle smile. (Tears.) So amiable, yet frail at 82. I lifted my shoulders. We would make this room homey and lovely. It just needed some familiar touches. The Shirley Temple pictures were moving in.

By the third visit I had come to grips with this being the place for both of them. I spent time walking around the grounds, and it was lovely! How had I overlooked the beauty of the grounds on my other visits? There were lots of shade trees on the west side and vegetable boxes residents could work on in another garden. And a beautiful walking path all around the parking lot with more gardens. There was also a pretty pioneer home across the street.

I looked over the activities schedule and loved it! My Mom would be doing more and my Dad would be with her. A sigh of relief. All will be well.

May 12, 2013

Food Storage Goals: May Week 20 - Sauces

Time to get back on track. For week 20, gather sauces as well as other suggested items.

STEP 1: 3-MONTH SUPPLY (per adult) - Sauces 12 ounces total.
Tip: I like to have a supply of sauces and marinades in my food storage. The suggested amount is a starting place. Since we have 5 people at home, I would gather 60 oz. of sauces. You may have 2 people and would gather 24 oz. This could be a variety of teriyaki, soy, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, marinades, etc. Don't go overboard! Some of these things last more than a year. Consider what you use most often and stock more of that item. Or simplify and keep one in the fridge and one on the shelf. (Don't include BBQ sauce as we will gather it in a few weeks.
Shelf Life: Varies. Check the label.

STEP 2: DRINKING WATER (per person if needed) - 14 gallons water
FEMA recommends 1 gallon per day of drinking water per person. That's about 4x24 ct. cases of bottled water per person. "You will also need water for food preparation, bathing, brushing teeth, and dish washing. Store a 3-5 day supply of water (at least 5 gallons for each person)." FEMA
Tip: Around Memorial Day, you can usually find a great price on bottled water. Small bottles are for short-term storage, so slowly go through your supply and replenish. More durable food grade containers are for long-term storage.
Shelf Life: small commercially prepared bottles store indefinitely. Other containers need to be refilled every 6 months. Store off your cement floor on 2x4's or on a shelf.

STEP 3: FINANCIAL RESERVE (per person) - $2.00 +/- per week
Tip: Add to your fund each week for emergencies. Keep some in the bank and some cash in small bills at home.

STEP 4: LONGER-TERM SUPPLY (per person) - Nothing this week

OTHER STORAGE ITEMS
FOOD PREP 1 - Paper plates
Tip: This is a great month to buy paper plates. These can be useful during disasters when you may not have running water, but are also helpful for those summer parties. I always keep a small supply on hand.

PREPAREDNESS GOAL - Pet 72-hour kit
Tip: If you own a pet, don't forget to put together a 72-hour kit for her. I put items for my dog in a red backpack and included food, water and a plastic bowl. I kept it hanging near her leash in the broom closet. You could certainly be more elaborate but I kept mine simple.

EQUIPMENT GOAL - Charcoal and Lighter fluid
Tip: These items are great for emergency use and barbecues. Make sure you get the right kind of briquettes if you plan to use them for Dutch oven cooking. We made the mistake once and bought the quick light and needless to say, the food did not cook correctly.

WEEKLY INVENTORY - Paper & Plastics
How: Check your supply of paper cups, plates, utensils, napkins, paper towels, etc. Great for everyday use AND emergency use.

Good luck on your weekly goals. You CAN do it! Here is the printout of the May 2013 Food Storage List. If you are new around here, go to my START HERE page.

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Reflecting on My Mother This Mother's Day


Whether you are a mother or have a mother, this is a special holiday to reflect on the sacrifice mothers make to bring children into the world and raise them. I have been blessed to be the mother of 7 amazing, talented children. I love each of them and have adored raising them.

But I want to honor my own mother, Maria Torres McCune, who raised me. Here is her bridal portrait. Lovely!


And here she is as an LDS missionary in El Salvador. Beautiful!


This picture was taken at my Gold and Green Ball. Look at her radiant eyes.


And here she is at the side of my Dad, supporting him as he served as the Santiago Chile MTC president.


I love you Mom! Thank you for your devotion to our family, the Gospel and your sweet spirit. You are forever an example to me of "love thy neighbor as thyself." Viva La Maria Pequena. Happy Mother's Day!

And Happy Mother's Day to all of my readers!

May 10, 2013

Spiritual Preparation is the Key to Facing Our Trials

The past three weeks I've had some health problems that have taught me several lessons. One of those lessons is when I have planted roots deep in gospel soil, I can endure trials better. I am grateful to know that Heavenly Father is aware of me.

When I turned 50, I decided to be a good girl and have one of those medical procedures we don't like to talk about. The lab results showed a clean bill of health. However, a few days after the procedure, I had excruciating lower back pain.

I've had back problems for years and regularly see a chiropractor, but I hadn't planned on muscle spasms in my lower back followed by neck pain, and then complex migraines.

I felt dizzy and nauseous, and had a difficult time concentrating. I could hardly talk, and it felt like I my tongue was swollen. Looking at the light coming in the window hurt, and there was pressure in my eyebrows and left side of my face and jaw. My teeth even ached. I could feel my left eyelid droop, but it was not obvious.

I decided to see my chiropractor, but his office was closed, so I went to my old DC. He ran some neurology tests and said I could be having a mini-stroke. :-( No one should ever mention the word stroke to you. My daughter took me to the ER to be evaluated. The MRI showed I have a beautiful brain which is a good thing. The ER doctor put on the medical report: complex migraine. I was given some meds, told to consult with a neurologist and was sent home. However, I had daily migraines, back and neck pain for over a week.

I tried massage, meds, ice, and bed rest. Being cooped up in the house was a bit depressing, but going out only triggered another migraine. For those who have experienced bed rest with back pain, you know that you really don't get rested. You have disturbed sleep.

I asked my husband for a priesthood blessing and was grateful for it. Too bad I waited a week to finally ask for one, something I won't do again. Things started to ease up after the blessing. I've prayed a lot to understand what happened and why. I prayed for the doctors to know how to help me, and patience for myself. The word "endure to the end" has taken on a whole new meaning.

As I lay in bed, I took a hard look at mylife. I went through my calendar and made the decision to wipe everything off including blogging, speaking engagements, church assignments and family events. That was extremely difficult for me. But I did it. I talked with my bishop and my Relief Society president for guidance. And I am slowly putting things back on. I have been pondering and working on bringing the essential things first. And taking care of my health is an essential thing.

I am still sore, but it is tolerable. The gentle rehabilitation has begun, and I'm taking vitamins, increasing water, and stretching. I am not without hope. I am very aware God has placed others in my path who have shared ideas to help me. I have never been left alone in all of this.

I am grateful for good friends who offered to drive my youngest to and from school. I love them for that. Grateful to my amazing family who prayed for me and helped around at home.

Spring is absolutely beautiful in my neighborhood, and I missed being outside in it. But today was amazing. I listened to birds chattering in the trees. Watched enormous clouds glide through the sky. Put my hand in the warm soil in the garden and got my fingernails dirty pulling weeds. I smelled the bark and looked at flowers. Such simple things remind me God cares for each of us.


Thank you for your patience and I hope my readers will continue to strive to become prepared both temporally and spiritually. The spiritual preparation is the key to facing our trials.

Best wishes,

Valerie

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