February 3, 2016

Letter from a Reader of Prepared LDS Family

When a letter like the following arrives in my email, it makes my day! Since I starting working at an elementary school, I have not been able to write as much as I would like, so I'm glad Prepared LDS Family is still a resource for some of you. I hope you enjoy reading this letter from a reader.

January 27, 2016
"I am married ... and have been so for 40 years. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints. We live in Maryland. We have two children and seven granddaughters. I have been a member of the Church for 30 years, mostly inactive but never losing sight of the truthfulness and doctrine of the Gospel. Recently I have returned to church. Years ago I started food storage and have #10 cans of a variety; i.e., rice, pinto beans, potato flakes, dried applies, oatmeal, but haven’t done anything in about 20 years. Last week [my husband] said we needed to start our food storage. I was surprised. He too, was baptized about 20 years ago, but has not been active. I went on line and found your web site, which I feel was due to divine intervention. Your web site has prepared a way for us to re-start our food storage, a subject which has overwhelmed me, not knowing what to store, how to begin, how to store it, etc. Your step-by-step directions/guidelines are exactly what we needed. I no longer feel overwhelmed and am excited about getting started and “catching up”. Thank you so much for what you have done for those of us who are not sure how to begin. I have copied your prep lists along with the monthly preparedness goals, which will be a tremendous help to one who doesn’t have a clue. I know by doing this, my Heavenly Father will give Mike and me further guidance and direction. I also put together a binder for each of my children, so if they desire, they can start their food storage as well. Once again, I can’t express my appreciation for what you have done and the directions which I can understand and start something I have avoided for years." M and J, Maryland

January 29, 2016

February Emergency Preparedness Goals - Breakfast Foods and Emergency Communications

My preparedness focus for February is breakfast foods and emergency communications. It starts this Sunday. Using a monthly focus helps me stay organized and prevents becoming overwhelmed with the whole preparedness thing. The great thing about breakfast foods for food storage is they are affordable and you can eat them any time of the day in an emergency.

Go here to print my February Emergency Preparedness List.pdf

My goal is to gather a 3-month food storage supply of shelf-stable everyday breakfast foods my family will eat. Even though I suggest specific items on my list to gather, adapt the list. Your family might eat cold breakfast cereal, whereas another family might want agave nectar and gluten-free buckwheat. Both families would be correct. So, adapt my food storage goals for you.


This month I'll gather breakfast cereal, oats, pancake mix, syrup and maybe some powdered eggs. I may throw in some extra boxes of food bars my husband likes too.

I usually check the Costco ad to see if there is something on my prep list on sale. This month my toiletries focus is toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. Costco has the mouthwash my husband uses. Check! My other items are not on sale there, so I'll be going to another store for them. I'm surprised, Costo, since it's National Children's Dental Health month. Em and I are headed to the dentist in February for our checkups.

Costco

Oh. Heads up. Even though I don't need them, you might want to know that Costco has their fire extinguishers, fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on sale. And the 9V batteries for the smoke alarms are on sale as well. Thanks, Costco.

On Step 1: 3-month food storage supply of my list, you'll see oatmeal listed as 5 lbs. or 2 LDS #10 cans. You don't have to buy your 3-month supply of oatmeal in #10 cans. Nada. It's perfectly fine to store items for your 3-month supply in the boxed container from the store like the one pictured.
Quaker Oats

I buy my oats from the LDS Home Storage Center, and then dump them in a plastic container for baking. Boy, would I like some oatmeal cookies right about now. Oh, yes. Back to writing.

Don't get hung up on all the numbers on the list. It took a lot of research for me to figure out what works for my family. You may want to store more or less depending on how much you cook oats. Let's move on.

Be on the lookout for some great breakfast cereal deals at the store this month. I actually picked up some General Mills cereals on sale Saturday. Not too many. Just six. My youngest does not like breakfast cereal. Yes, I know. She is unique. But my other children and grandchildren do like cereal. So, if they visit me, or if there is a disaster like a power outage or earthquake, I have something they can eat.

I love granola and Special K. So, I have a variety of things always in my cupboard. Look for some store sales around President's Day weekend here in the U.S. too.

Oats are amazing to store in your long-term food storage. They can be stored short-term in those Quaker Oats-type containers for something like 2 years, or long-term in #10 cans or buckets for about 30 years. But remember. Gathering food that lasts long-term is your Step #4. So work on that 3-month supply first.

There are several types of oats, but most people buy regular, quick or instant oats. They are definitely economical. To understand the differences, check out this great article at Baking Bites: Regular vs. Quick Cooking Oatmeal.

Let's talk about emergency communication. How will you communicate with your family during an emergency? Do you have some equipment to do that? What's your plan? Have you practiced it? Who is your out-of-state contact? Can you text them? Will they expect you too? What's your plan for Grandpa who lives 20 minutes away? Think it through.

I've got to work on that too, since phone numbers and addresses keep changing in our family. We always think we are safe if our contacts are in our cell phone, but imagine if you accidentally dropped your phone in water after a disaster. Do you remember the phone number of your daughter who lives in San Jose? Perhaps it would be wise to keep a card in your wallet with numbers on it too.

FEMA has a sample you can use, or create one of your own.

Family Emergency Communication Plan
Family Emergency Communication Plan Wallet Cards

Good luck on your goals this month. I think you CAN, I think you CAN one can or box or goal at a time.
Amazon
The Little Engine That Could


Best wishes
Valerie

BE DOERS
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: 
I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, 
for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, 
save he shall prepare a way for them 
that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." 

January 23, 2016

College Food Storage or Food Storage for Singles

Since I have college students, I thought I would do a quick post on college emergency kits and food storage. Yes, it is possible. No one expects you to have a year's supply of food since you are living in temporary housing with limited storage. But even so, there are some things you can do to be better prepared for emergencies. It's never too early to start gathering food storage.






I've created a simple Food Storage for College Students spreadsheet to give you some ideas and what you can gather.  It's important to be self-reliant. You never know when an emergency might happen such as job loss, a power outage. or a disaster. The list is great for singles not in college as well!

You'll probably want to have a 72-Hour Kit, and an auto emergency kit (if you have a car). Parents can help with these items at the beginning of the school year, or ask for them for Christmas since they can be pricey.






Now let's talk about how to create a food storage supply. It's easy!

  • Look over the list and decide what you want to store.
  • Change items based on your preferences. 
  • Stock up on non-perishables at the beginning of each school year, or semester.
  • Talk to your roommates about sharing staple food. (rice, flour, sugar, and spaghetti, etc.)
  • Store what you have room for. 
  • Store food under your bed.
  • Don't forget some emergency water. Can you fit a case of bottled water under your bed?
  • Ask Mom for canned food you can bring to school.
  • Store what you eat, eat what you store. 
  • Yes, you eat your food.
  • Buy some more when you need it.
  • The goal is to stock up, eat, and stock some more.
Good luck becoming better prepared!

Valerie

Food Storage for College Students pdf
Food Storage for College Students xlxs

December 29, 2015

Smith's Food Storage Case Lot Sale - January 2016

Smith's grocery store starts a case lot sale Wednesday, December 30th. You can get some great discounts shopping at case lot sales, but most of the time you can find deals at your local grocery or warehouse store year-round.


Since my January food storage focus is water and beverages, I'll stock up on those items and only purchase other things if I absolutely need them. This helps me stay on my rotation schedule with my Emergency Prep lists.

We don't drink apple juice often, but I like to pick up a few bottles and keep them in our cold storage. Sometimes I find cocoa drink mix at Walmart during after Christmas sales. Or I just buy it at the our local Sam's Club or Costco. It's also available at the LDS Home Storage Center. 

After looking over the Smith's ad, here are some:


GREAT DEALS AT THE SMITH'S CASE LOT SALE

BEVERAGES
Kroger Water 16.9 oz. 24 pk. $2.50 or .10 ea.
Kroger Water 16.9 oz. 32 pk. $3.49 or .10 ea.
Langer's 100% Apple Juice 64 oz. $1.39 or 8 for $12.00 (have seen for $1.25)

SOUPS/BROTH
Kroger Broth 14 oz. .50 ea. or 24 for $12.00
Maruchan Ramen Noodles 3 oz. .14 or 24 for $3.29
Campbell's Chicken Noodle or Tomato Soup 10.75 oz. $.55 or 48 for $26.40
Campbell's Chunky Soup various 18.6 - 19 oz. $1.00 or 12 for $12.00
Progresso Soup 17 - 19 oz. .99 ea.

MEAT & BEANS
Bumble Bee Tuna in water 5 oz. $.50 ea. or 48 for $24.00 (Great deal!)
Kroger Beans various 15 oz. $.49 ea. or 24 for $11.76

OILS & FATS
Kroger Peanut Butter 28 oz. $1.25 ea. or 12 for $14.99 (Awesome!)

TOMATOES
Kroger Tomato Sauce 8 oz. $.20 ea. or 24 for $4.80
Kroger Tomatoes various $.50 ea. or 24 for $12.00
Hunt's Pasta Sauce 24 oz. $.80 ea. or 12 for $9.60
Ragu Pasta Sauce 24 oz. $1 ea. or 12 for $12.00

FRUITS/
VEGETABLES
Kroger Mandarin Oranges 11 oz. $.50 or 24 for $12.00
Libby's Vegetables various 14.5-15 oz., $.50 or 12 for $5.99

BAKING SUPPLIES
Betty Crocker Cake Mix or Brownies $1.00 ea. or 12 for $12.00
p$$t Sugar 4 lb. $1.79 or 10 for $17.90 (have seen for $1.59)

I hope you find something for your food storage!

December 26, 2015

January Emergency Preparedness Goals - Water, Beverages and Water Storage

Hello friends and Happy New Year! It's time for us to roll up our sleeves and work on our New Year's resolutions; become more self-reliant and prepare for emergencies. If you want to use my January Emergency Prep List, follow this schedule - Week 1: December 27, Week 2: January 3, Week 3: January 10, Week 4: January 17, Week 5: January 24.



To start the new year off right, my personal January prep goals are to:

  • Update our 2-week supply of drinking water. 
  • Add beverages to our 3-month food storage supply.
  • Stock up on toiletries like toilet paper, soap, shampoo, feminine items and deodorant. 
  • Gather dry milk recipes on Pinterest for me and you.
  • Take an inventory of the freezer, beverages, water, toiletries, and breakfast foods.
Holy cow! Since I wrote these goals down on this post, it was so easy to copy and past them as tasks on my Google calendar. So excited for this new year to begin!

Gathering drinking water is one of the preparedness steps taught by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their Home Storage program.

FEMA recommends you buy 14 gallons (1 gallon per day for 2 weeks per person) of commercially prepared bottled water. To learn how to purify water and other good things, read this FEMA/Red Cross document "Food and Water in an Emergency."

Personally, I keep a few barrels of water in our basement AND small bottles of commercially prepared water in my kitchen, emergency closet and garage. I buy 24 ct. cases of water because I can carry them myself. So, if we ever had to evacuate, got water?

I'm always surprised why people won't buy emergency drinking water when it costs about $14 per person, but they will buy 2 movie tickets for the same price. Mmmm.

Want to Know How To Buy Emergency Water Quickly?
  1. Get in the car and drive to the store.
  2. Buy 4.4 cases of 16.9 oz. bottled drinking water.
  3. Bring them home, put them under a bed, or in a closet.
  4. You're done! Yes, it can be that simple. 
Here's Some Water Math
  • 14 gallons = 1792 ounces
  • 4x24 ct. cases of 16.9 oz.bottled water = 1622 ounces
  • 4x32 ct cases of 16.9 oz. bottled water = 2163 ounces
Where to Buy
  •  Stores regularly sell 24 ct. cases on sale for $2.50 each
  •  Sam's Club/Costco have 32 ct cases for about $4.50
While you are on a roll, how about starting a financial reserve (aka emergency fund)? This is also taught by the LDS Church and financial gurus like Dave Ramsey. It's so easy to do. I know you're thinking it isn't easy because you just spent mucho dinero on Christmas gifts. But I know you can do it!
  1. Decide on a small amount of money to save each week.
  2. Put it in the bank or a jar on your dresser.
  3. And ONLY use it for emergencies. Read how here
I'm amazed how large our fund has grown over the years. I have a testimony that obedience brings many blessings. So, do it!

Print out the January Emergency Prep list with the link below and see if there are some goals you can work on. I don't do everything either, but they give me some place to start. I studied Utah grocery store prices for the past 7 years, and tried to balance my lists so they doesn't blow our budget. Whether you live in Utah or not, I think my lists will help you move forward.

If you are new to preparedness, do the best you can, but remember President Gordon B. Hinckley said,

"I have been quoted as saying, 'Do the best you can.' But I want to emphasize that it be the very best. We are too prone to be satisfied with mediocre performance. We are capable of doing so much better. We must get on our knees and plead with the Lord for help and strength and direction. We must then stand on our feet and move forward."

So, let's get on our knees, then on our feet and move forward this New Year. You CAN do it!

Happy New Year!
Valerie


BE ORGANIZED
 "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing;
and establish a house, even a house of prayer,
a house of fasting, a house of faith,
a house of learning, a house of glory,
a house of order, a house of God.”
D&C 88:119


Go here for my 12 monthly preparedness lists

If you are new to Prepared LDS Family, go to my Start Here page and learn how I do things around here. Each month I share a list of items to gather for food storage and emergency preparedness. I've tweaked these lists over the years and have found that focusing on monthly goals will not overwhelm us.

December 1, 2015

December Emergency Preparedness Goals - Baking Basics, Power and Light

December is a busy month and a difficult time for most of us to focus on emergency preparedness, but December is a month that brings back memories of the Great Wind Storm we had here in Farmington, Utah on December 1, 2011. And I remember the Indian Ocean Tsunami on December 26, 2004 that killed 230,000 people, and the Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010 that killed 159,000 people. We can never put preparedness aside, even with the busy holiday season. So how do you fit it in? Keep your gathering simple with a different focus every month.


The December food storage items I gather are inexpensive baking ingredients you can quickly buy in one shopping trip. I call them Baking Basics. Things like vanilla, cooking spray, brownie or cake mixes, frosting, cornstarch, salt, baking powder or baking soda. It's super easy to stock up on those items! And they all store well and have at least a 1-year shelf life. You may already have enough of these on hand for a 3-month food storage supply which is part of Step 1 of the LDS Home Storage program.


My emergency focus this month is power and light so I gather such items such as batteries, matches or lighters, flashlights and lanterns. During the winter we could experience a power outage, so having these items on hand is a blessing. Add a flashlight to your child's stocking so they can keep it in the drawer by their bed. And you will probably buy batteries already for toys or electronics, right? Just pick up extra for emergencies too. Or put an emergency gift basket together for your college student, married children or other relatives, and toss in some food storage or emergency items.

At this time of year, I like to buy a more expensive preparedness item. I usually have more success convincing my husband to get something more expensive around Christmas-time than any other time of the year. :-) Some suggestions might be a generator, a chain saw, a snow blower, a solar phone charger, a bread machine or that wheat grinder (grain mill) you've had your eye on.

So, print the December Emergency Prep list and hang it on your refrigerator, or jot a few ideas down on your Christmas list. You will be glad you did. Anything you do is one step forward. "I think I can, I think I can, I know I CAN!"

I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and his never-ending love and encouragement in my life. I know he watches over each of us and will help us become better prepared for emergencies. May we focus on his glorious birth at this time of year and desire to become more like him.

Best wishes and Merry Christmas!
Valerie

BE CHRISTLIKE
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” 

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