Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - January Week 4

Now that our water is taken care of, let's gather a few more emergency supplies for Preparedness Challenge - January Week 4. This week will be simple. 

President Gordon B. Hinckley once said: "Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort." Just keep that in mind. 

1. Buy a Manual Can Opener
  • Many of us use electric can openers which won't work when the power goes out. So, make sure you have a handheld can opener in your kitchen drawer to open any cans in your cupboard. You probably already have one. You could spend $1.00 at Dollar Tree or up to $15.00 elsewhere. This Zyliss looks interesting at Amazon and has great reviews.
Zyliss Lock N' Lift Can Opener from Amazon $15

  • Clean Your Can Opener. recommends you put your can opener gears down in a mason jar. Then fill to the gears with vinegar. Soak for a few minutes (or an hour). Brush off the rust and gunk with a toothbrush, and dry. 
2. Buy an Emergency Prep Book 
  • You need a small library of books to help you survive a disaster. I don't get these on Kindle because I may not have access to the web. So I get real books. I've read several over the years and some are as long as the Bible. I prefer the less wordy ones and those written by people who don't without wear a gas mask on the book cover. If you go on Amazon, you'll soon see that many preppers feel the world is ending and they can hide somewhere. I have faith it isn't ending and we can weather any storm with faith. But you need more information than I could ever give you. So find a few emergency prep books. TIP: Buy used books on Amazon or other online sites. You'll save a lot of money. You can also check them out from the library first and then buy.
  • Read your Emergency Prep Book. Yes, take time to read the book and highlight pages. Keep them together with your emergency supplies.  Here are a few of my recommendations NOT in order of importance. Click any book image to be taken to Amazon where you can read the reviews.

    Preparedness Principles: The Complete Personal Preparedness Resource Guide for Any Emergency Situation by Barbara Salsbury. She is an LDS author. I learned so much from Barbara Salsbury about the type of Grab and Go Kit (72-hour Kit) bag I wanted to buy. A few year's ago I wrote an article about kit containers here. I'll encourage you to get one in a few months.

    Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford. This book is practical, well researched and easy to read. She also has a website.

    Just In Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison. "Learn how to inventory and rotate your food supply, pack an evacuation kit, maintain communication with loved ones, and much more."


    The Prepper's Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr. When I hear 101 things to do that sounds a bit overwhelming, but I'm sure I can learn from it.

    The Scouting Guide to Survival: An Official Boy Scouts of America Handbook: More than 200 Essential Skills for Staying Warm, Building a Shelter, and Signaling for Help, by J. Wayne Fears. If teens can learn from this, maybe I can too!

    An orange graphic background coupled with a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley: รข€œDo what you can do รข€¦ and the Lord will accept.รข€

    You've got this! Best wishes,

    Valerie Albrechtsen

    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Preparedness Challenge - January Week 3

    I hope you found some time last week to work on your Preparedness Challenges. Cleaning out and tidying the food in your cupboards is time consuming, but a great beginning each January so you know what food you have on hand. Yep, do it again next year.

    A 3-month supply of food is a great goal, but it takes time to accumulate and may not fit in your New York studio apartment. So...take a deep breath. Whatever you are doing is awesome!

    This week's Preparedness Challenge will focus on long-term emergency water storage.

    1. Buy a Water Storage Container
    • First, decide what you can afford. Are you on a tight budget? If so, then reuse containers such as 2-liter soda bottles. You know, those thicker plastic containers, not milk containers as they can leak over time. Or if you have extra cash, buy a 15-gallon. If you have a house and family, a 55-gallon barrel. Some people store water in 5-gallon containers. It's recommended we store a 2-week supply of water or 14 gallons per person. If you can't store that much, at minimum store 3 gallons per person. You may use a few small containers or a large container. The choice is yours.
    • NOTE: If you live in a small apartment, you could opt to buy your water. Just choose thicker plastic containers. Perhaps those large Arrowhead containers. So many ways to do this.
    Arrowhead Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water - 101.4 fl oz Jug - image 1 of 1
    Emergency Essentials 55 Gallon Water Barrel

    • Research where to buy. 
      • Ask friends if they have containers.
      • Look for an industrial container company and see if they sell to the public. I bought a few containers at one here in Utah near the airport called Industrial Container and Supply Company.
      • There are many options on Amazon or camping stores.
      • This is a decision only you can make. But you can make it. :)
      • If you purchase a large barrel you may need pump to pump the water out and 
    • Decide where you'll store your container(s). Will you need to store it outside under a deck or in a garage? I know it's not ideal to store containers in a hot garage, but let's get real. This may be the only place you can store it. You can store it in a closet in your home. Some people store containers under the sinks in their bathroom.
    • Read and PRINT the CDC document Making Water Safe in an Emergency. Put in your My Disaster Plan binder. Follow the steps to prepare your containers.
    2. Fill a Water Storage Container
    • Fill your container(s). It's time! When you are done, do a happy dance.
    TIP: Don't store containers directly on cement. Put some 2x4's underneath, or if you have smaller containers put them on a shelf.

    Best wishes on your week 3 challenge. Never feel rushed. Just do the best that you can. That doesn't mean slide by, it means do the BEST that you can. You CAN do it!

    Valerie Albrechtsen
    The Food Storage Organizer

    Wednesday, January 9, 2019

    Preparedness Challenge - January Week 2

    I hope you enjoyed your new beginning last week and you are ready to roll up our sleeves and move on to Weekly Preparedness Challenge - Week 2. There's a lot to be done. But you CAN do it!

    Let me remind you that you can get these challenges done any time you want. I haven't started them on Monday, because many of you work. So, I want to give you the weekend if you need it. And most of you were still putting away Christmas.

    This week we'll be cleaning out your food shelves, buying some 3-month beverages and a 1-month supply of toiletries for normal use.

    Yes, that's mine. I tried these foods past their expiration date, and...yuck! ๐Ÿ˜ž

    1. Clean Out Your Food

    • Take all food out of your kitchen cupboards and put it on the table.
    • Wipe those shelves clean.
    • Throw away expired foods, damaged food or food you don't eat anymore and toss it. Yes, food does go bad. Tomato based products usually have a 2-year shelf life because they are acidic. Long-term food doesn't last forever except sugar and honey. Canned flour has a limited shelf life of 8 to 10 years. When in doubt, toss it. Or you can try it and then toss it. ๐Ÿ˜• Don't work on your refrigerator or freezer at the same time.
    • Organize the shelves by grouping like items together in categories: fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, beans, meats, pasta/rice/potatoes, baking items, breakfast items, etc. Grouping items makes it easier to see what you need to buy.
    • PRINT OUT ๐Ÿ ž the Basic Food Storage Inventory Page.pdf or Basic Food Storage Inventory Page.xls.
    • Write the shelf stable items you have at home on the form under the matching category.
    • Put the inventory list in My Home Storage binder under the HOME INV tab.
    • Send me pictures of your results! ๐Ÿ˜Š 

    2. Buy a 3-Month Supply of Beverages

    • PRINT OUT ๐Ÿ ž All Is Safely Gathered In: Home Storage by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Study it. Then put it in My Home Storage binder under Challenges. It's good to review every so often to remind you what you are working towards.
    • Buy nutritious beverages for your 3-month food storage supply. Your goal is to try it and then buy a 3-month supply if you can afford it.
    • Purchase a pouch of LDS Nonfat Dry Milk, LDS Hot cocoa drink mix and LDS Fortified Berry drink mix (provides vitamin C). If you like them, than get a 3-month supply for your family. If you can't tolerate any of these products, buy something you can tolerate like vegetable juice or a store brand cocoa mix, or Tang. If you want to buy from another food storage company, go for it! It will probably cost more.
    LDS Nonfat Dry Milk great tasting dry milk for calcium and protein beverage or cooking.
    • Comes in a 28 oz. resealable pouch or 29 servings.
    • Costs $4.00 (2019).
    • Also comes in a case box of 12 for $48.00.
    • It is available online.
    • GREAT taste! It's been reformulated so it's not what came in the big cans. ๐Ÿ™
    • Has a 20-year shelf life unopened if stored in a cool, dry place. 
    • Considered a long-term food. However, it's very economical to use everyday.
    • Has about a 3-month shelf life opened.
    • Eventually you'll want a year's supply per person: 28 pouches (49 lbs.).
    • Figure out how much you want to store for a 3-month supply.
    Watch This Video About Using Nonfat Dry Milk by Crystal Godfrey ๐Ÿ˜
    LDS Hot Cocoa Drink Mix is a great tasting drink.
    • Comes in a 32.5 oz. pouch or 26 servings.
    • Costs $4.25 (2019), but it's on sale in January for $3.75. 
    • Has a 2-year shelf life. ๐Ÿ˜ 
    • Useful to warm you up during the cold winters and especially helpful after a winter disaster. 
    • Has provides calcium and protein. 
    • Currently not sold online.

    NOTE: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sells food storage products in their Home Storage Centers (HSC) and online. Most are at a significant discount since they own and operate their own farms and ranches. The online prices include shipping. You don't have to be a member of the LDS Church to purchase items in store or online. Here is the link to HSC locations.

    TIP: Keep a pouch each of beverage mixes in a kitchen cupboard so you will use them. You can store other pouches in a basement, closet, under a bed, etc. But not in a garage where temperatures are too high.

    What's a 3-Month Food Supply? 

    • It's shelf-stable food you keep on your shelf that doesn't require refrigeration until opened.
    • It's normal food you eat it and replenish.
    • It's foods like peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, pasta, flour, sugar, oil, oatmeal, breakfast cereal, tuna fish, canned corn, canned soup, etc.
    • It will be unique for every person or family depending on preferences and medical needs.
    • It's what you will most likely eat after a disaster.
    • Having a supply will help you if suddenly lose your job.
    • It's not freeze-dried foods, unless you eat freeze-dried foods regularly.
    • It typically has a shelf life of 3-months to 3-years. But some can last longer.
    • It's a goal you work towards.
    • If you live in an apartment, you may need to store less. That's okay! Store what fits and what you can afford.
    • It's part of the four LDS Church home storage goals.

      3. Buy a 1-Month Supply of Toiletries

      • Buy  a 1-month supply of toiletries for home use: Toilet paper, Soap/body wash, Shampoo/conditioner, Deodorant and a small unscented bleach (in case you need to purify water).  I'll share more toiletries with you another week. Just focus on this list and gather enough for your family. 
      • Keeping supplies on your shelf will help you if you are between jobs. And it's what you will most likely use after a disaster.
      If you have any questions, please email me at

      Have fun tossing and stocking!

      Valerie Albrechtsen
      The Food Storage Organizer

      You can use it as a guide and file it in "My Home Storage" binder under tab challenges.

      Friday, January 4, 2019

      Preparedness Challenge - January Week 1 Answers to Questions

      I'm so excited to hear that many of you are moving forward! Here are some answers to questions readers have asked about The Preparedness Challenge - Week 1.

      • I HAVE NOT RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM YOUR WEBSITE. WAS I ADDED? I apologize. Feedburner is usually a day late, so I'll post earlier next week. Message me, if you want me to add you to the email list. Please don't put your email in a comment on Facebook for the world to see.

      • SHOULD I BUY A GRAB-AND-GO BAG NOW? I recommend you wait since you don't know what size you'll need. Mine is a carry-on bag with wheels since I have a bad back.

      • HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST ME? I really don't know. I started with a $50 monthly budget. I encourage you to gather emergency water (more than the cases of water) and a three-month supply of food first, but I'll suggest more items as well. The choice is yours how you gather.

      Don't go in debt over this. I know you can gather emergency items on a shoestring. Heavenly father knows our limitations, and will help you find used or inexpensive items along the way. One of my friends bought a backpack at a thrift store for $3.

      • CAN I PUT DIAPERS IN MY INFANT'S KIT INSTEAD OF TP? Of course! I suggest you use your diaper bag as a G&G kit for an infant. Try to keep a 3-day supply of food and water in it.

      • CAN I PUT MY GRAB-AND-GO KIT TOGETHER FASTER? If you feel inspired to move faster than me, listen to your inspiration. Eventually I'll post a list with everything, but my goal is not to blow your budget. If an thought comes to mind of something you should do, act on it.

      • WILL YOU POST YOUR WARD HANDOUTS LIKE YOU DID BEFORE? Yes, but they won't look the same. Please don't depend on me to make something for your ward. I'm pondering how to encourage my ward to take the weekly challenge. I haven't posted weekly on my website for a long time, so please be patient with me.

      It took me several years to get where I am today and I'm still learning and replenishing. This isn't a get it done quick activity. It's a new way of living based on principles taught by the LDS Church for years.

      Former LDS prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said: "Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come.

      "We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm. We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day....

      "I have faith, my dear brethren [and sisters], that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments." ~ Ensign 2005, "If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear."

      Please don't work on preparedness out of fear. Do it because prophets of God have encouraged and counseled us to do it. If you aren't LDS, do it because it's smart and you love your family. ๐Ÿ’– And it is!

      I'll give you a huge hint about next week's challenge. Part of it has to do with throwing out old food and food storage in your home. ๐Ÿ˜ You can start if you want to.

      Got to run! Cleaning out my bedroom closet using the KonMarie method by Marie Kondo, and my Christmas decorations are still on the guest bed. ๐Ÿƒ

      Thursday, January 3, 2019

      Preparedness Challenge - January Week 1

      Are you ready to join the Food Storage Organizer's Weekly Preparedness Challenge? Well, I'm ready to inspire you. You CAN do this! I know you CAN. 

      I went to the Bountiful Temple yesterday for some inspiration. You need to know you are amazing! You have a lot of faith in me, but I have faith in you. Pray to your Heavenly Father for faith and energy to move forward with preparedness. You will be blessed for obedience to apostles and prophets. No doubt about it.

      GUIDELINES: You CAN do these challenges any day you wish over the next 7 days. Do them when the kids are asleep or at school, or let your family participate in some of them. How else will children learn about preparedness? P.S. Even if there are 5 weeks in a month, I'll only give you 4 weeks of tasks to accomplish. Aren't I nice? ๐Ÿ˜€

      Let's get started!

      1. Make 2 Preparedness Binders

      • Find or buy two 1 1/2" binders and two sets of 8 divider tabs.
      • Slide your binder covers in the clear fronts.
      • Label "My Disaster Plan" binder tabs: 
        1. Evacuation
        2. First Aid
        3. Communication
        4. Cooking
        5. Sanitation
        6. Power/Light
        7. Shelter
        8. Clothing
      • Label "My Home Storage Plan binder tabs:
        1. Challenges 
        2. Prices 
        3. Menus 
        4. Food Prep 
        5. Food INV
        6. Non-Food INV
        7. Garden 
        8. Em Fund
      • Print the January 2019 LDS Home Storage Center price list. Put it behind the PRICES tab in "My Home Storage Plan" binder. * Scroll about two-thirds down that page link. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      • If you have any preparedness handouts floating around the house that need a home, file them in your binders. *NOTE: "My Disaster Binder" is not a binder for important papers like insurance, medical, wills, etc. That would be an Emergency Binder.

      I hope that wasn't too difficult. Let's move on.

      2. Add Water and Toilet Paper to Your Grab-and-Go Kit
      • Buy a case of purified 16.9 oz. bottled water. Any size you can lift. How's that for specifics. Could be 24, could be 32, etc. You need at least 3 gallons per person.
      • Put three water bottles in a gallon-sized zipper bag AND a roll of toilet paper (or baby wipes and diapers) in a quart-sized zipper bag. Date the plastic bags.
      • Add water and T.P. bags to your grab-and-go kits. (If you don’t have a grab-and-go kit yet, add items to a plastic tote.)
      • Store the remaining bottles near your grab-and-go kit(s). NOT in the garage.
      • Use and replace the case of water when half empty.
      TIP: I like to keep one case of bottled water for each family member, so I have four. When two get used up, I buy two more. 

      Happy Preparedness New Year! See you next Friday.

      Valerie Albrechtsen
      The Food Storage Organizer

      You can use it as a guide and file it in "My Home Storage" binder under tab challenges.

      Tuesday, January 1, 2019

      The Weekly Preparedness Challenge - Introduction

      This year join me in my weekly preparedness challenge, as I motivate you to gather food storage and emergency preparedness items, and work on preparedness goals too. There is so much I'd love to share with you whether you are a beginner or a seasoned prepper!

      We'll gather short-term and long-term foods, items for your grab and go kit, incorporate food storage every week in your menus, and prepare your family for life's adversities.

      I serve as the Provident Living Leader in my LDS Ward Relief Society here in Farmington, Utah, so I'll share the handouts I give to my Relief Society sisters with you as well.

      You can sign up for my weekly emails on Food Storage Organizer in the Feedburner box on the right side of my website. I also post often on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

      So, set a New Year's resolution to get better prepared this year. I'm excited to help you!

      Valerie Albrechtsen, The Food Storage Organizer