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:

April 1, 2014

General Conference Activity Notebook for Primary Kids

Sometimes it's difficult for children to enjoy watching the LDS General Conference twice a year on television. But if you prepare in advance and make this event an important tradition in your family, kids will look forward to it each year. 

I taught a Relief Society class in my ward once about helping children enjoy the LDS General Conference. The moms and grandmas put together an activity notebook for children ages 6 - 11, so I am sharing my ideas. The cool thing about this notebook, is once you have your binder made, you can remove and add new pages every 6 months.

There are so many great ideas online, so my notebook has a-bit-of-this and a-bit-of-that. It's easy to customize. Look through the links, then print what you need for your own child.

More ideas can be found on my Pinterest General Conference for Kids board. And there are new April 2013 Notebooks at SugarDoodle for various ages. You can print just the pages you want to add. Have fun creating your notebook!

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