September 1, 2014

September Emergency Preparedness Goals - Meat & Potatoes, Earthquake Prep

September is a great month to get back on track with your food storage and emergency supply gathering. I've been working on a very detailed inventory of my supplies to get me back on track.

My spiritual theme for this month is Be Hopeful. We are so blessed in this nation. I believe that as we continue to be hopeful and believe that God does exist, we can accomplish the impossible. Never give up hope.

A lot of big projects happened at the same time this month for me. A new job part-time job at the elementary school, a new calling as 2nd counselor in the Primary just after our stake was redivided, and a huge PTO safety week I'm planning for the elementary school. I take a lot of deep breaths every day and pray constantly. And I feel so supported by my Heavenly Father and his angels that surround me. I'm never alone.

I have to tell you that the Green Ribbon Week at the elementary school is all about pedestrian safety, however I threw in a day about earthquake safety too. And some of the PTO ladies will be going into the classrooms reviewing "Drop, Cover, Hold" with the kids! I'm so excited for that. And the computer teacher will let the kids play "Beat the Quake." So awesome!

I'm down to one child at home as child number 6 just left for BYU, but thankfully her older brother is there too. So fun to have siblings! She is on the cross-country team, and we are so excited for her. My youngest is now in the 4th grade, I have a missionary daughter in Chile still, 3 married children, and 5 sweet grandchildren who we love so much. Life is always changing around here.

However, I'll be shopping for food storage next week at the Utah case lot sales going on right now. Yay!

Maceys: 9/1 - 9/15
Bowman's: 9/3 - 9/16
Harmon's: 9/1 - 9-15
Smith's: 9/3 - 9/16
Dick's: October
Fresh Market: October

Here is my list for September with some great ideas for emergency preparedness and food storage. If you are new with me, just start with this month's list. No need to backtrack. Just jump right in.

copy and post on your fridge!

The September food storage focus is what I like to call meat and potatoes. First, let's talk about meat. I don't gather a year's supply of meat because it is way too expensive. No, no! As long as we have rice and beans, we have a complete protein on hand for a disaster. I only keep a 3-month supply of canned meats and I only buy meat in a form my family will eat with our regular menus, which isn't freeze dried meats. But some of you like it, so go for it.

We eat frozen beef and chicken most of the time, but we can't depend on it if the power goes out. Nope, not too tasty. So, it's best to keep some type of shelf-stable meat in the house. In September, I like to gather canned chicken. Costco sells it and so does Sam's Club for  about $2.00, and you can also buy it at the case lot sales. Sometimes you can find canned turkey at Costco too.

I buy our tuna in April, beef in October, and chicken in September. Buying meat throughout the year spreads the expense. My September list suggests gathering 6 cans of chicken and 6 cans of a pork-type product for each person, but you can adjust the list however you want. That may be too much for your household. I leave the pork on the list because those of you with little kids stock up on Vienna sausages. I don't have any Spam eaters in my house, so I mostly buy canned chicken.

Canned chicken can be used in a variety of recipes such as chicken pizza, chicken stew, chicken salad sandwiches and chicken tortilla soup. It is something I use a few times a month, and I love the convenience. You know this semi-homemade food storage queen does not can her own chicken, but some of my friends do with their canners. You can find some basic recipes on my Canned Chicken Recipes Pinterest Board.

Let's talk about instant potatoes. Those that are short-term typically come in boxes or cans, and the long-term type comes in #10 cans.

For short-term storage, I buy Honest Earth Creamy Mashed Potatoes (made by Idahoan Foods) from Costco for about $10.00. There are 14 pouches in the box with 8 servings each or .71 cents per meal or .09 cents a serving. It's great to use as a side dish for dinner when you don't have time to prepare fresh potatoes, however there is nothing like homemade mashed potatoes. These instant potatoes DO NOT have a long shelf-life because they are made with a little butter. So guessing about 3 - 6 month shelf life.

For long-term storage I buy the instant potatoes from the LDS Home Storage Center. I'm NOT good about rotating them though because I don't bake much, but I'm hopeful. So I started a Pinterest Board with Potato Flakes Recipes. These LDS potatoes have a shelf-life of 30 years if stored in 75 degrees or less. Each can has 39 servings for about .08 cents each. Because butter is not an ingredient, they have a long shelf life.

Another type of potato is canned whole potatoes. You could keep a few cans on hand and add to stews, or you could gather a few cans of stew like Dinty Moore which comes on sale at case lot sale time.

Remember to laugh at your blunders, rejoice in your discoveries, and pat yourself on the back. Whatever you do is far more than most people ever will. You CAN do something!

Best wishes,

Valerie
BE HOPEFUL
“Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope;
for without faith there cannot be any hope.”

August 1, 2014

August Emergency Preparedness Goals - Fruits and Vegetables, Shelter/Bedding

The summer is nearly over and soon my youngest will be back in school. Her sister will head off to BYU this fall to join her brother. Our home will be so empty, but we look forward to the weekends when our kids visit. My daughter serving a mission in Chile has just reached her year mark. And my three oldest children have given us five grandchildren.

This is one of my favorite times of year to focus on food storage and a little emergency prep because things are so accessible. Here is my suggested list of items to focus on:


My spiritual focus this month is to be nurturers meaning to serve children during times of trial and disaster. Pray for them. One of my favorite scriptures is 3 Nephi 17:21 when Jesus Christ visits the Nephite people and prays for their children. Read the entire chapter for greater understanding of the love Christ has for children. It is tender and he has not forgotten them.

This month's food storage focus is fruits and vegetables which is a huge part of my supply. Many people harvest their own food and can it. If you're not a great gardener or canner like myself, we've got four weeks this month to find some canned food deals at our local grocery stores. Or have a friend teach you how to can. Even though I suggest gathering a 3-month supply, I personally gather at least a 6 month supply of these items because I have space for them in my basement and kitchen cupboards. I usually pick up some at the case lot grocery store sales in Utah. But you could can your own, or gather dried or freeze dried fruits and vegetables too.

Whatever you are accustomed to eating every day is best, because then you will rotate it. I know some of us freeze fruits, but also remember to put aside shelf stable foods as well. Personally I store items that I always cook with such as canned corn for tortilla soup, green beans for chicken stew, canned chilies for shredded pork, French green beans because my husband likes them, mushrooms for beef Stroganoff, and fruits for salads.

You'll always find bottled water on my monthly lists since I gather it year-round. Water is so essential to our existence. It disappears quickly from store shelves in disasters, so it is so important to have some on hand. I encourage people not to keep their eggs in one basket; meaning, don't just store it in one place in your home. I store some in barrels in the basement, bottled water in my coat closet, and some in my garage and cars.

Our emergency fund has been growing little by little each month, and I have a testimony of it. I used part of our financial reserve once, but those funds have been built back up again. I am grateful for President Gordon B. Hinckley's counsel when he said:

"Begin in a small way, my brethren, and gradually build toward a reasonable objective. Save a little money regularly, and you will be surprised how it accumulates."

My emergency preparedness focus is shelter and bedding items such as a tent, a sleeping bag for each person, a large tarp and rope or bungee cords. I know it is late in the summer to gather these, but you can find some of the best clearance sales on these items this month. If you already have them, pick up a different emergency item or put that money aside for things to gather next month.

I hope that you find my August emergency prep list useful. You are welcome to share it. Tweak it all you want and make it your own. Little by little, month-by-month you CAN build your food storage and emergency supplies and make self-reliance a natural part of your life.

Best wishes,
Valerie


BE NURTURERS
“And when he had said these words, he wept,
and the multitude bare record of it,
and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, 
and prayed unto the Father for them.” 


Go here for my 12 monthly preparedness lists.

July 1, 2014

July Emergency Preparedness Goals - Summer Foods, Drills & Canning


My theme this month is "Be Guardians," meaning be willing to protect "our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." (Alma 46:12) By doing so, we give our children and grandchildren the opportunity to be free to choose for themselves. We can be done this through sharing ideas on Facebook and other social media and stand for what we believe.

My July food storage focus is summer foods. I suggest gathering easy to store items on my July Emergency Preparedness list below, however please change amounts to suit your family.

July Emergency Preparedness List.pdf
(Print me! Carry in your purse or hang on the refrigerator)

The most expensive food item I collect this month is honey. It is a wonderful natural sweetener for bread making, sandwiches and cooking. And it has an indefinite shelf life which makes it great as part of your long-term food storage too.

I've also selected other less expensive food items many people eat already during the summer months at social gatherings such as crackers, chips, gelatin, pudding, food bars, popcorn, lemon juice, vinegar, olives and jams. They store well in your everyday pantry for at least 3 months, and some longer.

Because many of us may be home more with our families, this is a great month to set a goal to practice an emergency drill. Do you have plan? Does each member of your family know where to meet in case of a fire? Who is your out of state contact? July is a month when people celebrate with fireworks, however it is also a dangerous time for fires as we have seen already across the United States. Teach your children how to be safe while they celebrate.

Be on the lookout for emergency equipment on sale this month such as a camp stove or igloo. In an emergency, what do you plan to cook on? In a power outage, where will you store perishable food? If you like to can fruits and vegetables, gather those supplies now as well.

Best wishes on your continual efforts with food storage and emergency preparedness. Keep it simple and it will become a natural part of your everyday life. You CAN do it!

Valerie

BE GUARDIANS
"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—
In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—
and he fastened it upon the end of a pole." 

Go here for my 12 monthly preparedness lists.

Helpful Article:
Where to Buy Honey in Utah

*Picture from Microsoft Word

June 9, 2014

Sunday Morning Waffles and Favorite Things About My Husband


We are a family with few traditions, but one tradition my husband Brad began a few years ago, is making pancakes for us on Sunday morning. Silly me, I told him I'm not a huge fan of pancakes, and asked him if he could switch to waffles instead. Thank goodness he complied! and now he makes waffles with fruit toppings like bananas, strawberries or blueberries. Yum!


Every Sunday (rain, snow or shine) he walks the 1/2 mile to church (you're jealous it's so close, right?) holding my youngest daughter's hand. I drive every Sunday. Can you guess why she adores him? He also wears a white shirt and tie ALL SUNDAY LONG. It's a habit he picked up from his father, and a rare thing to see these days. He says he does it to remind him of the Sabbath.


He plays "Ticket to Ride" or watches a family movie after church, and then he typically drifts off to sleep, wrinkling his signature white shirt.


He's probably one of the best tenders to young children I have ever seen.
You can always find him holding one of his grand-kids.


He's one of eleven children himself, so he has had lots of experience.


His bond with all our children is amazing, because he is ALWAYS available to them. Sometimes I get jealous when he's gone so much with them. He's the fun guy as you can see.


But HELLO! My kids have a dad who spends time with them. What more could I ask for? The fact that he keeps up with the kids instead of the Joneses is my favorite thing about him. 


Yep, that's the guy I married. He's the greatest Dad and husband in the world. So, yes, I'm keeping pancake mix and syrup in our food storage. It's a tradition. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there. Thanks for all you do for your family's!

June 4, 2014

June Emergency Preparedness Goals - Grains, Vitamins and Bread Making


School will be out for many this month, and though vacations and good times begin, let us not be slothful. It's important that we keep striving to prepare our families in any way we can for emergencies.

June is the month I like to focus on gathering grains and vitamins for my family. I also have more time to actually make bread. Many grains can be stored long-term, but some cannot. If you want to store brown rice in your 3-month food storage supply of everyday foods, that's fine. But brown rice does not store well long-term for 20 to 30 years because of the oil. I show amounts I like to store on the monthly list below. Grains are inexpensive, which is wonderful. That's why I like to gather year-round because you can store a little at a time and build up your supply.

I love that my Blendtec blender can grind wheat quickly. I hope I do it more. Half and half white flour and wheat in breads and cookies is great. You will want to check out Chef Brad: Fusion Grain Cooking class on BYUtv. A great resource on learning about grains.

June Emergency Preparedness List.pdf
(You are free to print my list and share with others)

I had a dream last year that was a wake up call for me. Suffice it to say that it involved an earthquake and many people not heeding the counsel to become better prepared. I remember being concerned for their safety and trying to their attention.

When I woke up, I immediately typed down all the details of that dream. I've never done that with any dream before. Some dreams are only inspiration for the person who dreams them, and maybe this was just for me. I'm not a disaster forecaster and I'm not predicting "the Big One." But in this dream, I do remember trying to warn people, but they were not paying attention. They were distracted with internet use, computer games, thrills and things that matter least.

We can either choose to be like the Children of Israel in the days of Moses and wait for a sign, or we can be guided by the Spirit and the counsel of living prophets today to become better prepared. The choice is always ours.

I hope we will each work hard to gather some supplies to help our loved ones and our neighbors. I hope we will take the time to make sure we have stored an adequate water supply and other necessary supplies. I feel a great peace knowing my family is storing a little bit at a time and not panicking and going into debt to do it. If you think you can, you will! Just move up that hill an inch at a time.

Best wishes,
Valerie

BE HEALTHY
"All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine;
that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground."

Go here for my 12 monthly preparedness lists.

May 7, 2014

Sister Missionaries Part of Mormon Helping Hands in The Arkansas Tornado Cleanup

My niece, Katie Anderson, is serving an 18-month LDS mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Arkansas Little Rock mission. On April 27th, she and her missionary companion live in Maumelle and were awakened to “insane thunderstorms that were off and on all day," but they went about their normal routine as good missionaries do.

Later that evening they decided to stop at an apartment of a senior missionary couple . . . a miracle for sure. Suddenly emergency sirens went off, but for them this was “pretty normal once a week,” and then the sirens got louder and louder. After a call from their mission president to “take shelter NOW!” they did so in a bathroom and the couple took shelter in the other bathroom.

May 4, 2014

May Emergency Preparedness Goals - Condiments/Spices and Emergency Cooking


May is a busy month for many families with Mother's day, school testing, performances, and graduations. So I like to simplify my food storage gathering this month with easy things like condiments and spices. These items are on sale in stores right now, which is a great way to help you save money gathering food storage. Check out my list below for some items I like to gather for our family in May.

As the weather warms up, more and more people cook outdoors. There are plenty of coupons and sales for condiments right now. However, let me caution you not to go overboard when stocking up on condiments. You will be tempted to buy more than you need, so be practical. I like to stock up on a year's supply because the shelf life is great on these items, but consider how many bottles of ketchup you REALLY need. Take a look at my suggested amounts for a 3-month supply which I feel is more realistic for my family and maybe yours. If you multiply the amounts by 4 and then multiply that number by the number of family members, you will come up with an amount that might work for you.

April 8, 2014

An Update on Me and Random Thoughts

This year has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I haven't written much on my blog because of several health issues. I know what it is like to live with pain on and off. But I'm actually smiling because my perspective of trials has changed. When my knees or my lower back or my neck start complaining, I take it easy. I'm learning not to "run faster than I have strength." Mosiah 4:27

These limitations have given my plenty of time to slow down and ponder who I am and what I should be doing with my life. As I approach my 51st birthday this weekend, I am happy to be alive. I'm blessed with a great family and blessed with challenges that I can learn and grow from. And as Olaf says, "All good things." I wouldn't have it any other way.

I used to wonder why the domino game kept happening to me, but now I understand that He knows I can handle more than I think I can. And I trust Him.

April 4, 2014

You Are Invited to Watch the LDS General Conference

I am so excited for 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Every 6 months, our family watches it on Saturday and Sunday. If we can't catch it all, we record it. I get such a spiritual lift and amazing insight listening to the music and the wonderful speakers. I love taking notes and gathering more counsel and direction for my life. I learn ways to help my family. It is just amazing!

If you have never seen General Conference, check it out at the following link. Consider yourself invited! :-)

How to Watch General Conference on Saturday, April 5 and Sunday April 6 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. MST.

About General Conference

What Should I Expect?

Best Deals at the Smith's Case Lot Sale April 2014

After reviewing the grocery ad for the Smith's (Kroger) case lot sale happening here in Utah, I listed below what I consider to be the best deals. All items at case lot sales are not necessarily the best price in town. So it's important to do some homework. But case lot sales are a great time to stock up on items for your food storage.

During the month of April, I follow my monthly preparedness list, but check out other items I listed below that you want to stock up on. I did not include everything in the store ad, so there are definitely more items you could shop for. But, I tried to give you examples of the best bargains. Here is what I plan to buy:

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