Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - March Week 4

This week for our Preparedness Challenge, we’ll gather first aid supplies into our grab and go 72-hour kits. Thankfully this won’t take you long to accomplish.

Everyone imagines evacuating in their cars. I imagine going on foot as roads may be too congested with vehicles. From home I imagine going to the LDS church close by, or our larger LDS stake center. Some of you would walk to a school or other community center.

If you had to evacuate quickly, and some family members had minor injuries, you may not have time to use your regular first aid supplies. So, put some useful items in your kit.

Good thing you have some water bottles in your pack from Preparedness Challenge January Week 1, so you can cleanse a wound.

Here are a few ideas for about $6.00 for the dollar store.

1. Gather First Aid Items Into Your Grab and Go Kit
  • $1.00 Bandana. Could be used as a large bandage, head wrap, hand protection, foot wrap, etc.  Find at a dollar store typically in a 2-pk.
  • $1.00 Travel first aid kit with bandages, alcohol wipes and tweezers. Make your own from items you already have at home and perhaps purchase alcohol prep pads at a dollar store.
  • $1.00 Mini Sewing kit. Needle, thread, thimble, safety pins, etc. Find at a dollar store.
  • $1.00 Elastic bandages. Great for supporting a sprained ankle. Find at a dollar store.
  • $1.00 Feminine pads. Besides feminine use, these can also be used ad a wound compression bandage. Find at a dollar store or use some from your own supply.
  • $1.00 Duct tape. Wrap a few yards on a stick or popsicle stick. In an emergency, use it to hold a compression bandage in place. Hopefully you have some around the house.
Put all items in a waterproof Ziploc bag and mark FIRST AID.

If you have several young children, you could adapt the kits. Perhaps yours will have more first aid supplies than theirs, but I plan to put the items above in my 14 year-old's kits as she may need to evacuate if I'm not home.

I’m sure there are other items you thought of, but I hope this basic list gets you started with some lightweight first aid supplies for your kit. I’m excited to work on this myself.

Best wishes on becoming better prepared for emergencies,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - March Week 3

This week for our Preparedness Challenge, we'll be gathering long-term dry beans, peas and legumes. I'd be the first to admit, I'm not an expert on these food items. But I know if the LDS Church leaders encourage us to gather them, they must be important. And so, I gather them.

Here is what I suggest we work on:

1. Inventory Long-Term Dry Beans, Peas or Legumes
If you have long-term dry beans or legumes stored, take an inventory of them.

2. Decide How Much You Want to Store
If you decide you want to store long-term dry beans, peas or legumes, choose an amount you can afford. on the it states: "Where permitted, gradually build a one-year supply of food that can last for a long period of time. Focus on foods such as wheat, rice, pasta, oats, beans, and potatoes that can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place."
You don't need to store a year's supply all at once. Personally, I only purchase a box of 6 at a time so my food storage doesn't expire at the same time. A general recommendation from BYU article "An Approach to Longer Term Food Storage,",is to store 12 cans per person for a year's supply. Everyone doesn't have room to store a year's supply, so decide what you can do now.

3. Purchase Long-Term Dry Beans or Legumes
The LDS Church sells long-term Black Beans 5.5 lbs., Great Northern (White) Beans 5.3 lbs. and Pinto Beans 5.2 lbs. in #10 cans for $5.50. Each has a 30-year shelf life. They store best at 75 degrees or less. You may purchase them at LDS Home Storage Centers or online at Other food storage companies sell dry kidney beans and dry peas. Feel free to purchase where you want, but the LDS Church prices are amazing. If you would like to store dry beans, gather an amount to try before buying a large amount. What you store is your choice. Gather an amount that works for your family. If the day came when you had nothing else, you will be glad you had some beans.
Currently, the LDS Home Storage Centers have Black Beans on sale for $5.00 a can. And dry refried beans (5-year shelf life) for $5.50 per can.

As you work on a few food storage goals at a time, you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

Best wishes,

Valerie Albrechtsen                                                       
The Food Storage Organizer  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Preparedness Challenge March Week 1: Reader Experience

This week we are working on getting together a supply of canned beans and fish. The challenge comes in preparing a dish with either of those ingredients!

Canned Fish
A couple of weeks ago, I actually decided to branch out and make a dish with canned salmon. I had never tried canned salmon before but found a pasta dish that incorporated it. I picked up some canned salmon during my grocery trip and was really excited to try it!

When it came time to cook the dish, I opened the can and was turned off by how it looked. We never had canned salmon growing up, or really anything more than tuna, so I didn’t know what to expect. My pregnant nose couldn’t handle the fish, and I actually opted to take the fish out of the dish. Pretty sad, I know.

However, I now know that if it came down to using our food storage supply, we probably wouldn’t be too happy with canned salmon. Part of the challenge in collecting food storage is storing foods we would actually eat if we needed to. Cooking a recipe with the collected supplies is a great way to weed out ingredients that might not make the cut for your food supply.

Let’s just say, I’ll be collecting canned tuna for this challenge.

Black Bean Recipe
This week, I was able to cook a dish with black beans that we eat fairly often. These Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos from Cooking Classy are one of our favorites!

Finding a recipe that doesn’t involve meat that my husband will love is a little bit tough. But we all enjoy these yummy tacos.

Good luck!

daughter of The Food Storage Organizer

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - March Week 2

This week let’s work on our first aid supplies during our Preparedness Challenge. Most of us have some, but we probably haven’t gone through them in a while. Well, this is that week.

1. Clean Out and Resupply First Aid Supplies                   
Go through your home and gather all the first aid supplies you can find. They could be in multiple locations. Find a container of two to put those items in. Keeping them in a central location will make it easier to find. I use a tackle box. Read more about it here. Add items you need to your grocery list such as band aids, gauze pads or rolls, medical tape, first aid kit, Neosporin, first aid manual, ice packs, thermometer, ACE bandage, rubbing alcohol, etc. You don’t need to buy these items all at once but making a list will help you gather what you need over time.     
TIP: If you've ever had an injury, hang on to your crutches, splints, wrist guards, knee braces, etc. During a disaster, you may be the only one who has them.   
2. Clean Out and Resupply Medications
Contact your local pharmacy to find a disposal location near you. Or look at the Walgreen’s website to find out which stores have a disposal kiosk. Walgreen’s takes “prescription medications, ointments & patches; OTC medications, ointments, lotions & liquids; pet medications and Vitamins. Who knew? The closest locations near me are in Bountiful or Layton, Utah.       
Make a list of medications you would like to resupply and add them to your grocery list. In an emergency, many people need some type of pain medication.    
TIP: Keep children's and adult medications in separate containers and out of reach of children. Have a chat with teens about the proper use of medications.                                                                                                                                                                     
I hope I’ve kept it simple enough for you to accomplish. Have a great week!                                                        
Valerie Albrechtsen                                                       
The Food Storage Organizer       

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Preparedness Challenge February Weeks 3 and 4: Reader Experience

The last two weeks of February were quicker for me to tackle. We were challenged to get a supply of dental toiletries and make sure we have text, emergency apps, and a solar charger for our phones.

1-Month Supply of Dental Toiletries

This challenge came at just the right time for me. Our bathroom storage needed to be reorganized and our toothbrush area definitely needed a good wipe down. Gross!

Before buying supplies, I decided to throw out some items under the bathroom counter and make room for what we’d actually use. did this and I thought it’d be helpful to clean out before adding more supplies.

Then, I went to the dollar store and picked out a number of cheap organizing baskets and bins. This made all the difference when I started loading up the cupboards. I can actually see what we have now, and my husband no longer has to ask me where something is every time he needs it!

We now have a good supply of dental toiletries. It’s funny how even just a tiny supply can bring so much peace of mind. No more running to the store when we’re out of toothpaste. And no more going too many days without flossing just because we don’t have any!

Cell Phone Preparedness

Have a cell phone with text. Check! Not too hard to complete that one.

Next, we were encouraged to download some emergency preparedness apps to our phone. I downloaded the FEMA app and the Red Cross App. I decided these apps wouldn’t be too useful if I didn’t know how to navigate them, so when I get a minute here and there, I’ve been familiarizing myself with them. I’ve actually learned a lot from the FEMA one about emergency preparedness. There’s a blog you can access through the app with real-life experiences of people in disaster situations.

We’ve also been encouraged to purchase a solar phone charger, which I haven’t done yet, but have it on my list to do soon!

daughter of The Food Storage Organizer

See more on these challenges here:
February Week 3
February Week 4

Friday, March 1, 2019

Preparedness Challenge Februray Week 2: Reader Experience

This week we were challenged to gather a 3-month supply of breakfast foods and purchase long term oats. Because I’m only gathering a 1-month supply of food, I made some adjustments to fit that goal. For the time being, I won’t be collecting any long term foods.

1-Month Supply of Breakfast Foods

After reading through this challenge, I wasn’t sure where to begin. I decided to start buying some cereal because we eat a lot of that. I knew it would be nice to stock up on it when it came on sale.

Luckily, my mom sent out another email with a ton of helpful information about what a 3-month supply of breakfast food actually looks like. She attached a PDF that includes an example of a 3-month supply of breakfast for 2 people. Because my family currently consists of me, my husband, and our son, I decided to cut the amounts in half and use it for our 1-month supply guideline.

Here are the changes that I made to the document she sent out.

My family doesn’t eat many waffles, so I omitted that group from the sheet and increased the food in other areas. I looked up the prices of the items I could buy from the grocery store and added in those numbers. The only item I ended up purchasing from the LDS Home Storage Center was dry milk pouches. It’s much cheaper there than in the grocery store.

Everything else I need to buy is slightly cheaper at the grocery store, so I’ll go ahead and get them there.

Here are some pictures from my first experience shopping at the LDS Home Storage Center:

Everyone was super helpful, and they even loaded up my car with what I purchased. Check to see if there is a center near you!

I still need to collect a lot of the breakfast food items, but I plan to do that over a few months.

daughter of The Food Storage Organizer