October 1, 2015

October Emergency Preparedness Goals - Oils, Fats, & Fire Safety

Fall is my favorite time of year! There is so much to look forward to: the change of color on the trees, football games, General Conference, holidays with family, yummy food, and case lot sales. Yes! I even look forward to that.

This month my food storage focus is oils and fats. Our bodies need fats to absorb certain nutrients to help our bodies function. When I think of fats it reminds me of the tin man in the Wizard of Oz getting some much needed oil. He says, "Oil can! My goodness! I can talk again. Oil my arms, please. Oil my elbows."

As we enter the holiday season, cooking oil, shortening, chocolate chips and baking chocolate go on sale. Of course I put chocolate chips in my food storage. Costco usually puts bags of them on sale, so I pick up two large bags and store them in my freezer for the coming year. But they don't have to be frozen. Put something yummy in your food storage too, since those little yummies can be great stress relievers during emergencies. And they taste good too!

In October, I buy a few cans of roast beef (Wal-mart), and some beef or turkey jerky for my 3-month food storage supply. These items are too costly for me to buy a year's supply. They are the least expensive at stores like Costco or Sam's Club. Some of you know how to dry your own beef, but this suburban mom just buys it.

It's important to store oil properly. Oil should NOT be stored in a garage where the heat will ruin it. Unopened vegetable oil has a 1-year shelf life, though it can be stored longer if you store it in a very cool (not freezing) location. Once opened the shelf-life is 4 - 6 months, so it's a good idea to write the date you open it on the outside of the bottle.

Oils should be stored in a dark location such as a closed cupboard or pantry. Olive oil has about a 6-month shelf life, but can be stored for a year in a refrigerator. To avoid using rancid oil, always smell it first. Sticks or canned shortening have a 2-year shelf life. Once opened, canned shortening has a 1 year shelf life, but the sticks only have a 6-month shelf life. I just threw too many numbers at you didn't I. Many of you are fans of coconut oil for your food storage, and since I'm not an expert on it, all I can say is my friends love it.

Peanut or almond butter is another item I stock up on this month, but remember it has a short shelf life of about 1 year. I usually keep a 6 month supply on hand in the small 18 oz. containers because we use it slowly. If you need help figuring out the shelf life of any food item, visit StillTasty.com or look at the expiration date the manufacturer put on the item. And remember to see if the date is truly an expiration date OR a best buy date. Many items can be stored beyond the best buy date, but be careful about oils as rancid foods can make you sick. Yuck!

There are no long-term food storage items (20 to 30 year shelf-life) to gather this month, however continue to put a little bit of money in your emergency fund each week, and keep your emergency supply of drinking water up to date. How much water? At least one gallon per person for 14 days or at least 14 gallons per person. This can be used for cooking. If you live in Utah, cases of bottled water go on sale for about $2.50 at the case lot sales. That's about .10 per bottle for commercially prepared water. You can always get them at warehouse stores too.

My October emergency preparedness focus is fire prevention. It's time to test those smoke alarms, get your fire extinguisher tested, check that carbon monoxide alarm and have a mock fire drill. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, get one for small fires. Never use on large fires. Just get out!

DISASTER! No one likes that word, but the cleanup afterwards is awful. This month, put together a disaster cleanup kit. Many of these supplies can be found at your dollar store. Or you may have some on hand already. Wouldn't it be nice to be ready to help your neighbors? The following video by United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has a disaster cleaning bucket. I think they do a pretty good job explaining it.

That's it for October. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Decide what you CAN do this month, and do it!

Best Wishes,

"And inasmuch as they are faithful they shall be preserved, 
and I, the Lord, will be with them."

Go here for my 12 Monthly Preparedness Lists

September 29, 2015

General Conference Activity Notebook for Primary Kids

We are all excited to learn who the new apostles will be at the upcoming LDS General Conference. If you prepare a General Conference notebook for your child they will be excited too. There are some spaces in the notebook to add the names of the new living apostles.

A few year's ago we created an activity notebook in my ward for Primary children ages 6 - 11. I update the links every 6 months. The cool thing about this notebook is you can use it again and again and just remove old pages and put in new ones. My notebook has a-bit-of-this and a-bit-of-that from many sources. Look through the links and print what you think your child might enjoy. Keep their hands busy so their minds can feast as they listen to General Conference with you.

More ideas can be found on my Pinterest LDS General Conference FHE board. Also see The Ultimate LDS General Conference Packet A-Z, and The Ultimate LDS General Conference Packet A-Z 2. Have fun creating your General Confernece notebook!

General Conference Notebook for Primary-age Children
  • Get a 1 inch clear-view cover binder for each child.
  • Buy 5-tab divider pages and label them: My Notes, Coloring Pages, Activity Pages, Family Games, For Parents
  • Print any of the copies below.
  • Hole-punch your copies.
  • Put your copies in the notebook in your notebook.
  • Add  sheet protectors to hold game pieces like Bingo cards.
  • Provide colored markers, crayons, pencils and treats for your child. Have a great time!
Step 1: Print this cover page pdf  (My 10 year-old daughter still loves this picture by Beth Whittaker!) 

Step 2: Print these section title pages or create some of your own.
Step 3: Glue or staple the section title pages to your 5 tab dividers. You may have to trim them depending on your divider pages.

Step 4: Go to LDS.org and print pages 4 - 12 in the General Conference Notebook. Use these for your child to take notes or draw notes on. Elder Packer, Perry and Scott have been removed and their are spaces for three new apostles. You can use that cover instead of mine.

Step 5: Print any of the coloring pages you want:
"God's Prophets and Apostles Speak to Us in General Conference" at LDS.org
"I Will Follow the Prophet" at LDS.org or anything else from this link.
"Prophets Teach Me How to Strengthen My Family"
"Jesus Created The Earth for Me" at LDS.org (It's the same as my cover)
"Prophets Speak For Heavenly Father" and "Conference listen, then color pages' at the same at LDS.org
"The Resurrection" by Harry Anderson at LDS.org
"Jesus Christ Created The Earth As a Place Where I Can Choose The Right" at LDS.org
"I Can Show Reverence For Sacred Places and Things" at LDS.org
"I Came to Earth as Part of a Family" at LDS.org

Step 6: Print any of the activity pages you want:
"Salt Lake Temple" dot-to-dot 1-35 or another others from About.com
"Mary at the tomb" 1-79 dot-to-dot at LDS.org (scroll down)
"The Gold Plates" 1 - 35 dot-to-dot at my CTRRing.com
"Liahona Compass of Faith" dot-to-dot 1-60 at LDS.org (scroll down)
Taking The Sacrament in House of The Lord dot-to-dot 1-86 at LDS.org
"Mexico City Temple" dot-to-dot 1-65 at LDS.org
"We Do Not Doubt" Stripling Warrior dot-to-dot 1-55 at LDS.org
"Trust In The Lord" dot-to-dot 1-95 at LDS.org
"David and Goliath" dot-to-dot 1-115 at LDS.org
"Joseph Smith" dot-to-dot 1-55 at LDS.org
"Sacrament" dot-to-dot 1-86 at LDS.org
"Zion" maze at Food Storage and Beyond page 34. Another packet!
"Endure to the End" maze at Food Storage and Beyond page 8. Another packet!
"Easter" crossword puzzle at LDS.org
"Latter-Day Prophet" word search or any other searches at LDS.about.com
"Latter-Day Saint" word search at LDS.about.com
Current "Prophet and Apostle" word search at LDS.about.com (2 per page)
Article of Faith word searches #11 or #12 or #13  at LDS.about.com
"Joseph Smith" word search at LDS.about.com
"Noah's Ark" hidden pictures  at LDS.org
"I Love My Family" hidden pictures  at LDS.org
"The First Easter" story Rebus with word pictures (in color)
"Joseph F. Smith" crossword or "King Benjamin Teaches the People" or "Noah's Ark" cut outs at LDSLessonIdeas (scroll down)
"Word of Wisdom" and Joshua Served the Lord" hidden pictures at LDSLessonIdeas
"Remember Jesus During the Sacrament" picture wheel and other activities (scroll down)
Two "General Conference" hidden pictures at LDS.org
"President Monson Follow the Prophet" hidden picture. Print in grayscale to save ink.
Make your own tracing-the-words pages for younger children from KidZone.com. Create a page of words such as your child's name or the word "Jesus," "Prophet," "Love," "Family," "Temple," etc. Go to Tracer Pages. Click "Blank (No pictures)," and then "block" lettering. Put a word (10 letters and spaces or less) in the blank space and copy to all boxes.

Between sessions, play some games as a family.
Print a General Conference Squares cards for each family member from LDS.org conference squares game card
Go to LDS.org and let your child play "Articles of Faith Memory Quest"

Image result for lds memory quest

Let your kids watch the "Conference Center" video tour. Very sweet!

Print my "General Conference Helps for Parents" handout. Keep this in the binder so you can refer to it again. Or add any other handouts you find useful. A few weeks before conference, come back to this page and print something new for your child. You may also want to read "Preparing Our Children for General Conference" at LDS.org

I'm getting excited for General Conference! Hope you are too.

(Links updated 9/29/15)

“It is when children are young that parents must be innovative in helping them develop good habits regarding conference participation. As our children are given opportunities to observe and learn the role of these special witnesses, they will receive a spiritual confirmation of the sacred calling of their Church leaders, and they will feel a deeper love for and interest in these leaders and their message.” Elder Neil L. Andersen

September 24, 2015

The Power of 3: An Emergency Preparedness Guide

I recently stumbled across The Power of 3 emergency guide for LDS Church members in the Orange California Stake. Even if you are not a member of my church and don't live in California, I found this emergency guide very valuable. And you will too.

Everything is based on the power of 3. What would you need and what would you do in the first 3 minutes, first 3 hours, first 3 days, first 3 weeks or first 3 months after a disaster?

This guide is simple, and some of you want it simple. It has spiritual and temporal preparations. You will want to read it and will be happy you did.

Thank you, Emily, for sending it to me!

You can download it here:
The Power of 3 pdf

September 2, 2015

Fall 2015 Utah Case Lot Sales are coming!

Fall case lot sales are coming to Utah! I made some corrections on the dates, so check them out below. These sales give you a chance to stock up on food storage and emergency items for your family. If you are driving to Utah for General Conference (Oct. 3 & 4), pick up a few cases on Saturday. Some stores let you shop as soon as items hit the floor, and some let you buy individual items at the sales price.

  • SMITH'S: September 2nd 
  • HARMONS: September 3rd
  • MACEYS: September 7th
  • REAMS: September 8th
  • DICK'S: September 28th
  • FRESH MARKET: September 28th
  • RIDLEY'S: September 29th
  • BOWMANS: September 30th
Here are some tips on how to shop at case lot sales.

How to Shop at Food Storage Case Lot Sales

Here is a price comparison of case lot sale prices versus Sam's Club, Costco and a few other stores I did in Fall 2014.

September 1, 2015

September Emergency Preparedness Goals - Meat & Potatoes, Earthquake Prep

My 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 far 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.

I like to keep some type of shelf-stable meat in the house even though we eat frozen beef and chicken most of the time. Just wait until the power goes out! I buy tuna in April, beef in October, and chicken in September for our food storage. Buying meat throughout the year spreads the expense. In September, I buy canned chicken at Costco or Sam's Club for about $2.00 per can. You can also buy it at the Utah case lot sales, somega statting this week.

My September list suggests gathering chicken and 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 might want Vienna sausages. I don't have any Spam eaters in my house, so I mostly buy 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 amazing 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 I'm guessing about a 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.

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 with faith in God, we can accomplish miracles. Never give up hope when the world is falling apart. We know who wins the game in the end. Our choice is to choose whose side we are on. (Jeffrey R. Holland)

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. So go do something!

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

August 2, 2015

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

My spiritual focus in August is to Be Nurturers and serve others during disasters. After my recent CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training, I began to see how each person can assist others after a disaster. In 3rd Nephi 8 - 17 in the Book of Mormon, some of the most tremendous disasters ever recorded occur in a three-hour period in ancient America: tempests, earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds and upheavals in the land. After these experiences, Jesus Christ visits the survivors at his temple, teaches them his Gospel, heals the injured, and prays for their children. It is tender to read how much he loves them and has not forgotten them. We too can be his nurturing hands and help those around us during disasters and various trials in others lives.

In August, I focus on gathering fruits and vegetables. Many people are fortunate to harvest their own food and then can it. If you have a small garden like me, you may need to buy most of your canned fruits and vegetables from the store. Even though I suggest gathering a 3-month supply on my printable list, I personally gather closer to a 6-month supply of these items because I have room to store them in my basement. I usually pick up some at the case lot grocery store sales in Utah.

It's best to buy and store what you're accustomed to eating every day in your 3-month supply, because you know you will use them. I store items I cook with such as 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. I know, we all like our fresh foods from the store. In fact we're pretty dependent on it, but there may come a time when you can't buy them and a can of green beans will taste like heaven. So, it's smart to store something on your shelf.

My emergency focus this month is to gather shelter and bedding 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 right now. If you already own these items, pick up an different emergency item you couldn't get last month.

You'll always find water on my monthly lists since I gather a few cases year-round. Water is so essential to our existence, and disappears quickly from store shelves before or after disasters, so it's important to have some on hand. I encourage people to not keep their eggs in one basket; meaning, don't store it in one place in your home. After an earthquake, you may never reach one location, so keep water in a few locations. I store some in barrels in the basement, cases in my coat closet and pantry, and always a few bottles in my cars.

Our emergency fund has been growing little by little each month, and I have a testimony of building it. Since we starting building our financial reserve fund at the counsel of our church leaders, I've only had to use it once. But those funds have been built up again. I keep most of it in the bank, and a little at home for emergencies. I'm 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."

Summer is slipping away, so I hope you find time to use my August emergency prep list. Grammy just learned how to scan it into a jpg for you, so please share it on Pinterest. Thanks a bunch!

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,

"and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, 
and prayed unto the Father for them.” 
3 Nephi 17:21

You are free to print and share with others, but please mention my site.

Go here to see my 12 Monthly Preparedness Lists


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