"I fear that so many feel that a long-term supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all. Begin in a small way…gradually build toward a reasonable objective.” -President Gordon B. Hinckley,

Monday, June 29, 2015

Family Disaster Plan

It's a sunny Tuesday afternoon, your children are in school, your spouse is at work, so you take the opportunity to run some errands. You've been to the post office to mail a letter to a dear friend, stopped by the dry cleaner, and have just placed the last item on your grocery list into your shopping cart, when you feel the ground beneath you move. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has just struck. You somehow manage to make it safely out of the grocery store and realize with terror that your cell phone has no service and the roads are so damaged you can't possibly drive home. 

How will you communicate with your family to find out if they are okay? How will they know that you are okay? And how will you reunite with them? 

It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.

Basic steps to make sure you remain safe:

  • Meet with your family or household members.
  • Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
  • Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
  • If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.

    Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency

  • Choose two places to meet:
  • ̶ Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire.
    ̶ Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
  • Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.
  • Go here to download a template for your family plan.

    Plan what to do if you have to evacuate

  • Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.
  • Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.
  • Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.

Let Your Family Know You're Safe
If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Food Storage- What's for Dinner?

   By now I'm sure you have all heard about what I will call the 'old way' of doing food storage. You may have even found a food calculator that told you how many pounds of each grain, beans, flour, powdered milk, and sugar you needed.  But WHAT are you going to make for dinner with those items?

  I had the same dilemma, I was storing the basics as I was guided to, all the while wondering what on earth I was going to make for dinner if that was all I had. Enter the 'new way' of doing food storage. And by 'new way', I mean the way that I will forever do food storage. There is no right or wrong way, but this 'new way' makes sense and works for my family.

This system is based on a survivable worst case scenario, meaning no running water, no gardens, no grocery store and you could still feed your family. This system will allow you know exactly how much food you will need for a year's supply.

                                                             The System
Write down 7 breakfasts and 7 dinners that you would like to have once a week for a year. There are 52 weeks in a year, so you will be having these meals 52 times. After deciding on meals, write down everything it takes to make the meal and multiply that by 52. Don't forget to add the water you will need for cooking.  My personal food storage has 7 breakfasts( x 52 weeks), 14 dinners(x 26 weeks), a daily loaf of bread (x 365 days), and a variety of desserts. This is a very simple system that saves time and money because you only store what you need and know you will eat. It can easily be adapted for those with food allergies. 

Now you may be saying, "What about lunch?" Well, if I'm in a situation to NEED to be living on my food storage, I'm going to sleep late and go to bed early. We won't need lunch. And meals will take longer to cook without modern conveniences. If you would like lunch, feel free to add that. 

A few examples of meals and the total needed for a year of that meal. 

Let's say you choose spaghetti as a dinner and it takes 1 pound of spaghetti noodles and 1 jar of spaghetti sauce to feed your family. You would need 52 pounds of spaghetti noodles and 52 jars of spaghetti sauce to have that meal once a week for a year. 

Or maybe you chose Taco Soup ( makes 9-10 cups) 
1 pint (home canned) ground beef   x 52 weeks =.........52 pints ground beef
1 can kidney beans x 52 weeks = ................................52 cans kidney beans
1 can corn x 52 weeks =...............................................52 cans corn
1 29 oz can tomatoes  x 52 weeks =.............................52 cans tomatoes
2 cups water  x 52 weeks =...........................................6 1/2 gal. water
3 T taco seasoning  x 52 weeks =.................................2 1/2 pounds of taco seasoning

Everything should be looked at for long shelf life. Many of your favorite recipes can be converted into food storage recipes. Instead of frozen hash browns, try dehydrated potato shreds

Once you have decided on your meals, written down all the ingredients and tallied a total for all ingredients keep that list with you at all times. Put it in digital format if that is more convenient. Then watch for sales and in a timely manner buy your food storage. 


To ensure that the food you store is still safe to eat, you must rotate the store food prior to its expiration date. With this system, rotation is simple. Get a small notebook and as you buy your food storage write down what your bought, when you bought it, the expiration date, and where in the house that food is stored. Each year look at your book and determine what is near expiration.  If something will expire within that year, buy/can a new item, take the old item out of storage and place in your pantry to be used in your weekly meals. Then replace that item with the new. Be sure to record the new expiration date in your book. 

Soon you will have a full year's supply of meals that you KNOW your family will eat. Rotation will be a simple task  that you may even look forward to. 

Additional food storage tips can be found here.

Food Storage Tips

This list is a general overview of things you may find helpful in storing, using, and acquiring your food storage.


Baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, cocoa: These are some of the items you don’t need to can or vacuum seal. Keep them in their original containers or you can place them in buckets with lids. Baking powder test: 1 tsp in 1/3 c hot water = water fizzes.

Brown sugar: 2 Tb Molasses, 1 cup white sugar. Mix with pastry blender until blended. You can also vacuum seal brown sugar in mason jars to keep it fresh for years. Or store unopened in original bag for 2-3 years.

Butter (almost) 1 pound shortening (butter flavored works) ½ tsp salt, 1 2/3 c condensed milk
Whip the shortening and the salt until light. Add the condensed milk a little at a time and blend.

Butter canned: Check the internet for best prices. 12 oz can, 24 Tb or 3 sticks of butter. Home canned works too.

Cheese canned: Check the internet for best prices. A Velveeta tasting hard cheese that can be shredded or sliced, comes in an 8 oz can. Minimum 5 year shelf life. Freeze dried cheese is great too.

Corn syrup: 1 c sugar + 2 c water. Cook in canning jar in solar oven about an hour or until thick.

“Eggs” from unflavored gelatin (Knox): Buy in bulk at bulkfoods.com. In all the recipes in this book I have substituted unflavored gelatin for the eggs. The gelatin is less expensive than powdered eggs (as little as 3 cents per tsp) and has an indefinite shelf life.
1tsp gelatin =1 egg, 1 oz gelatin = 12 tsp, 1 pound gelatin = 192 eggs.
Making one egg: Combine 1 tsp of unflavored gelatin with 3 Tb of cold water and stir until dissolved. Then add 2 Tb of hot water and stir. When using your own recipes, decrease the liquid called for in your recipe by about ¼ cup to compensate for the added water from the “egg”. I have already done this for the recipes in this book.

Eggs: 1 T dry egg powder + 2 T water= 1 medium egg. Add powder to dry ingredients and water to wet ingredients

Eggs: Storing fresh eggs for up to 1 year. Rub warmed mineral oil on your hands and coat the entire surface of the fresh egg with the oil. Replace egg in carton with the point down. In cold climates they can be stored in a cool, dark place. In warmer climates, place in the refrigerator. Rotate once a year.

Milk: Powdered milk: If you have electricity, powdered milk is best if you use warm water, mix with a blender and chill overnight.

Buttermilk: 1 c water, 1/3 c dry milk, 1 Tb vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit 5 min.

Condensed milk: ½ c hot water, 1 c sugar, ¼ c dry milk, 1 c water. Place in canning jar with lid and shake until thoroughly blended.

Eagle Brand: 1 c hot water, 1/3 c corn syrup,1 2/3 c sugar, ¼ tsp vanilla, pinch of salt, ½ c butter, 2 c dry milk. Place all ingredients except butter in canning jar with lid and shake until well blended. Gradually add the butter and shake each time until well blended.

Evaporated: 1 c water, 2/3 c dry milk. Whole 1 c water + 1/3 c dry. Skim: 1c water + ¼ c dry milk.

Milk on the shelf: Technology has given us real milk that sits on the shelf and has at least a 1 year shelf life. It comes in quart containers, available in whole, 2%, vanilla soy, almond and rice milk.

Peanut butter: 2 c peanuts and 4 Tb honey OR 2 ½ c peanuts and 2 Tb butter - salt to taste. Blend until smooth. This really needs an electric blender but it can still be done without one.

Rice: If your rice goes rancid, set it out for 2 or 3 days and rinse with water.

Shortening: I have substituted shortening for the oil in all my recipes because of the longer shelf life. Oil has about a 2 year shelf life, unopened shortening has 10+ years. If you can still find the hard lid shortening (not foil lids) they have an indefinite shelf life. Store shortening in a cool, dark place. Opened shortening has a less than one year shelf life. After opening shortening, melt it in the microwave or solar oven, pour it into mason jars and vacuum seal it for a longer shelf life.

Tomato powder: ½ cup powder mixed with 1 cup water =1 c tomato sauce. Less water makes tomato paste and more water makes tomato juice. Shelf life is 10+ years.

Vacuum sealing foods: Many foods with high oil or high sugar contents cannot be stored in #10 cans because of the interaction with the metal (Chocolate chips, nuts and raisins for example). You can significantly increase the shelf life of your foods by placing them in mason jars and using a Food Saver and a Jar Sealer attachment to vacuum the air out of the jars. Put your ingredients in a mason jar, put a lid on the jar, place the jar sealer attachment over the lid and start the machine. If a jar won’t seal, try placing one lid down and one facing up or heating the lid in boiling water. The jar can be opened and resealed over and over. If you take the lids off carefully, they can be reused indefinitely. You can seal nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, brown rice, cornmeal, candy bars, egg noodles, poppy seeds, dried apricots, malt-o-meal, cookies, granola bars...just about anything in the pantry. Shelf life should be 3 years or more if you keep the foods cool. Remember, the warmer the temperature, the shorter the shelf life.
You cannot vacuum seal foods that need refrigeration…only foods that sit on your pantry shelves.
Don’t vacuum fine powders….they gum up the works of your machine. If you want to seal powders, put a plastic or zip lock bag in your jar, fill the bag, express the air, zip lock it then vacuum seal.
A new Food Saver can be expensive. Used ones are easy to find online and are very inexpensive. Just be sure it has the port hole on top of the machine where the jar sealer attaches. Jar Sealer attachments come in regular and wide mouth.

Water: I store water in the 55 gallon plastic barrels. You can add 1 tsp of household bleach for every 5 gallons of water, but most city water supplies already add sufficient chlorine. 2 - 3 of these barrels per person will fill most water needs for cooking. Store in the garage or on the north side of the house. Do not place directly on concrete.

Yeast: Yeast has an indefinite shelf life in your freezer or one year on the shelf. ALWAYS test your yeast before adding it to your dry ingredients. Add the yeast to warm (not hot) water and wait a few minutes. The mixture will start to bubble and smell good. Add this to your dry ingredients.

Monday, June 1, 2015

First-aid kits

A well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies. Keep at least one first-aid kit in your home and one in your car. Store your kits someplace easy to get to and out of the reach of young children. Make sure children old enough to understand the purpose of the kits know where they're stored.
You can buy first-aid kits at many drugstores or assemble your own. You may want to tailor your kit based on your activities and needs. A basic first-aid kit includes:

Basic supplies

  • Adhesive tape
  • Elastic wrap bandages
  • Bandage strips and "butterfly" bandages in assorted sizes
  • Nonstick sterile bandages and roller gauze in assorted sizes
  • Eye shield or pad
  • Triangular bandage
  • Aluminum finger split
  • Instant cold packs
  • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
  • Disposable nonlatex examination gloves, several pairs
  • Duct tape
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Plastic bags, assorted sizes
  • Safety pins in assorted sizes
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Soap or hand sanitizer
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic solution and towelettes
  • Eyewash solution
  • Thermometer
  • Turkey baster or other bulb suction device for flushing wounds
  • Breathing barrier
  • Syringe, medicine cup or spoon
  • First-aid manual


  • Aloe vera gel
  • Calamine lotion
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Laxative
  • Antacids
  • Antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine
  • Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and aspirin (never give aspirin to children)
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Cough and cold medications
  • Personal medications that don't need refrigeration
  • Auto-injector of epinephrine, if prescribed by your doctor
  • Essential oils such as these

Emergency items

  • Emergency phone numbers, including contact information for your family doctor and pediatrician, local emergency services, emergency road service providers, and the poison help line, which in the United States is 800-222-1222.
  • Medical consent forms for each family member
  • Medical history forms for each family member
  • Small, waterproof flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
  • Waterproof matches
  • Small notepad and waterproof writing instrument
  • Emergency space blanket
  • Cell phone with solar charger
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Whistle

Give your kit a checkup

Check your first-aid kits regularly to be sure the flashlight batteries work and to replace supplies that have expired or been used up.
Consider taking a first-aid course through the American Red Cross. Contact your local chapter for information on classes.
Prepare children for medical emergencies in age-appropriate ways. The American Red Cross offers a number of helpful resources, including classes designed to help children understand and use first-aid techniques.