Search This Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

What if we had a big power outage?

The big snowstorm that broke all the trees and power lines in the Northeast is causing a lot of suffering.  How would you like to be without power from Saturday to Wednesday?

"New Jersey's largest electric and gas utility, PSE&G, warned customers to prepare for "potentially lengthy outages" and advised power might not be fully restored until Wednesday. More than 612,000 lost electricity in the state, including Gov. Chris Christie."

Read more:

In cold weather, you need an alternate form of heat.  We have a Big Buddy propane heater, which runs off of little 1 lb.  propane cans, and I also purchased a long hose so I can attach it to a big 20 lb. propane tank.  

You should also have enough warm clothing and warm blankets or sleeping bags to allow you to sleep without heat.  Remember to get all the pieces for each person:  hat, gloves, heavy leggings, coat, boots.  I have been finding all that stuff at Goodwill.

Goodwill sells its heavy coats or ski pants for between $8 and $28, I have purchased some really good ones.  Their boots are $4.50 a pair.  The gloves, mittens, and hats are about $1.37 each.

It is a wonderful feeling to know that we have enough warm clothing for our family, and we could survive in the cold.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brown Rice went rancid

I just learned that you should never store brown rice for very long, because it will go bad within 6 months to a year.

That was bad news, because I had a bucket of brown rice from 1996.

So I opened it, and sure enough, it smelled bad.  I had to throw away the whole contents (I saved the bucket to refill it with something else.)

That was an expensive lesson.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tips from survivor of Bosnian war

On, Stasha tells how her family survived the war in Bosnia.  Here are some of the main things she said:

The first thing that lost value overnight was money.  Stores were emptied overnight too.

Things that gained value:  Tools, gardening tools, gardening seeds.

Oil or any type of cooking fat was priceless.

Have a water container that can close.  She said she had to carry water, and when grenades started falling, she had to run, and she would spill all the water if it was just in a bucket.

The medicines that were in demand were pain killers, fever reducers, and antibiotics.

These are great things to think about!  Crystal will be posting more from Stasha, and I can't wait to read it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting ready for Winter Power Outages

This article from the New York Times tells about the preparations you need to make for power outages in the winter.  There are some good ideas here, especially the recommendations on the Big Buddy propane heaters (I have one of those myself.)  And using lawn solar lights as indoor lighting when there is no power. (I own 25 of those too.)

(Thanks for telling me about this, Kim B.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Contagion" movie: Things They Got Wrong

While watching "Contagion" on Friday night, these are the things I noticed that I didn't think they got right:

They showed that looting took place but no one was hurt. 

They showed that the streets are filled with garbage but no one gets sick from it. 

They show the MRE food line and that they "ran out" but the movie goes on for months without anyone starving. No ill effects from the lack of food. Matt Damon and his daughter stayed home for months...what did they eat?  Typical Americans don't have much in their cupboards.

They mentioned that only 25% of the law enforcement showed up to work, the teamsters wouldn't drive trucks, that all the nurses went on strike, and trash collectors weren't picking up the trash.  They NEVER mentioned the possibility that the workers at the city water supply or public utilities such as natural gas and electricity didn't show up.  Yet power, water, and cellphone service were still working throughout the movie. 

It was silly to me that the department store where the dad bought his daughter a dress was still in business.  That was ridiculous, since one out of four people were dead.  No, I don't think a dress store would still be open.

Anyway, I hate to burst your bubble, but if a "Contagion" scenario really happens, it will be a lot worse than the movie.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Things that "Contagion" movie got right

We finally went to see "Contagion" at the theater, and I thought that most people watching it might catch some good emergency-preparedness ideas.

For instance:

Touching things spreads germs.  Quit touching things.  Or if you do, wash your hands before touching your face or food.

Having food inside your house is a good thing.  The movie showed the riots in the stores, grocery stores running out of food, and the military running out of Meals-Ready-to-Eat.

It would be wise to have some basic medical skills, and some supplies such as masks and gloves.  And to know how to keep the germs from your family members away from other family members.

Staying away from other people is important during a pandemic.  The Matt Damon character isolated his daughter and himself for about a year.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ward Emergency Essentials order for October

I am postponing the due date for the checks for Emergency Essentials.  WE DID NOT GET ENOUGH ORDERS TO MAKE THE FREE SHIPPING.  We're not even close on the tomato powder, but if 3 more cans of freeze dried chicken are ordered, we would get the great price on the chicken and also get free shipping on everything else.  Any more takers on the chicken?  And for those of you who ordered tomato powder, want to pay $8 more dollars and change your tomato powder order to chicken instead?
The freeze dried chicken is a great deal.  If we buy 12 cans it is $28 each instead of $42.95, and give us free shipping.   If you are hesitant to use freeze dried chicken, please read Crystal's review on 
Please email me if you are planning to order, so I'll know if we will have enough orders.  And remember, you can buy anything else with free shipping, so look at the website for other things you might want.
Checks can be given to me at church on Oct. 23 (but not in the chapel) or at my house until Mon. Oct. 24.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Major Changes to Provident Living website!

Check it out yourself!  The Church's main site for provident living is all new.

Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from this month's General Conference is front and center.

They really want us all to research these things out for ourselves, and are making it as easy as possible to see the handbooks and all the resources.

If you click on "Becoming Self Reliant", it takes you to this page , and then there are several things to click on.

For instance, if you click on "Preparing for Emergencies", you will find this great list:

Family Emergency Planning

Church members are encouraged to prepare a simple emergency plan. Items to consider may include:
  • Three-month supply of food that is part of your normal daily diet.
  • Drinking water.
  • Financial reserves.
  • Longer-term supply of basic food items.
  • Medication and first aid supplies.
  • Clothing and bedding.
  • Important documents.
  • Ways to communicate with family following a disaster.

I encourage you to go to and look around at all the new information.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Got Charcoal?

In the Ensign January 1974, President Ezra Taft Benson quoted President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of the First Presidency, who in April 1937 had said: 
“Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. "
Do you have enough fuel for a year?  If not, want to try to get enough fuel for a few months?
Here is the calculation for how much charcoal you need to cook 365 meals: 
Take the # of Dutch Oven meals planned for the year____ X 20 briquettes per meal =_____ divided by 30 briquettes per pound = pounds needed.

365 meals X 20 briquettes = 7300 divided by 30 = about 243 lbs or about 12-20 lb bags, or about 16 – 15 lb bags

Someone else said Kingston charcoal was 17 or 18 briquettes per pound.  So that example would be:
365 meals x 20 briquettes per meal = 7300 divided by 18 = about 405 lbs or 20-20 lb bags.

The picture above shows four 13.9 lb. bags, two 23 lb. bags, and two 20 lb. bags. (Why do they make every bag a different size?!!???!!)  So that is either a half a year's fuel or a third of a year's fuel, for cooking.

Of course I have a solar oven, so on sunny days I won't be using the charcoal.  So I hope that will stretch it farther.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More explanation for October Emergency Essentials order

This is quick, but you will need to get your checks (made out to me) by October 20.

I think there are some good deals in the group order category for October.  I would like to get our ward and Green Level and Cary 1 together if I have to, because I want to get at least 12 cans ordered of freeze dried chicken and at least 12 cans of tomato powder.  These two things will qualify us for free shipping.  (All the other items I am listing do NOT qualify for free shipping.)

If you are in Morrisville Ward, Green Level Ward, or Cary 1 ward, and you want to order freeze dried chicken or tomato powder, I will include you in our order.  Otherwise, only Morrisville Ward members, please.

I am going to buy some Beqa cheese. It is canned cheese, when you open it, it looks a little like Velveeta but it is white cheddar.  It is canned in Australia, so the size is in grams.  I compared it to other sized cans, and it looks like it would be about 9 oz.  The cans are $3.29 each, which is hardly more than it was in 2009  (so that is a good deal comparitively.  All prices are up.)

A #10 can of freeze-dried peach chunks for $16.99 is good, it is on sale from $22.50.

Someone in our ward is interested in buying some cans of the granola, if at least 6 cans are ordered they are 50 cents cheaper.

The freeze dried chicken is a great deal.  If we buy 12 cans it is $28 each instead of $42.95, and give us free shipping.   If you are hesitant to use freeze dried chicken, please read Crystal's review on 

If we buy 12 cans of tomato powder, it is $20 per can instead of $30.95. (And qualify for free shipping.)  This can be rehydrated to make anything like ketchup, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, etc. (of course you would have to have a recipe and the additional ingredients.)  I have found that tomato products in cans don't last too long, so I am storing tomato powder because it lasts much longer without going bad.

 I don't mind it if we DON'T qualify for free shipping, if we don't qualify we can do the order anyway and with several people buying, each just pays their prorated share (Maria and I were the only ones who ordered in August, she paid about $2 shipping and I paid $7 shipping because I ordered a lot more than she did.)  However, for the items that are $10 cheaper when ordered with a group order, I can give you your money back and not order if we don't meet the group order.  (So wait to write your checks until we find out if we meet the group order requirements.)

Remember, if we qualify for free shipping, EVERYTHING else qualifies for free shipping on the same order (buckets, water barrels, etc.)  So if you want something heavy, order it when we get free shipping.

Look at the website for more prices: .

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wow, look what this woman can do with food storage
This is a deluxe restaurant-type meal!  Crab and Ricotta Canelloni!  And she has photos and instructions for making the noodles AND the ricotta cheese from food storage ingredients! (See her blog of Oct. 12, 2011)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ranchers can't feed their cattle in Texas

"Texas driving its cattle north amid drought", LA Times, Oct. 9, 2011,0,1766138.story

This story tells about the ranchers in Texas, who are trucking their cattle north to Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, and Minnesota.

In Texas, the drought is so bad they can no longer feed or provide water for the cattle.

"By January, about 12% of Texas' roughly 5 million head of cattle will have disappeared since last year — shipped, slaughtered or sold, according to David Anderson, an economist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, an agriculture education agency based at Texas A&M University.

"Swenson has paid about $70,000 to ship 1,200 head — two-thirds of the herd — to Tryon, Neb., and Lusk, Wyo. They are all cows, the precious breeding stock they have cultivated since Swedish immigrants staked out the territory in the 1860s."

"Texas, with the nation's largest cattle industry, provides 16% of America's beef. U.S. beef prices are expected to increase this year as much as 8%, twice the increase in overall food costs, according to the Department of Agriculture."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Great Ideas for Pantry Meals in a brown paper bag

 I have already linked to this woman's blog twice, , but a couple of days ago I finally actually sat and read a bunch of her posts.  They are great!

What she does is to make a meal out of completely shelf-stable ingredients.  And she shows step-by-step photos, so you can see how she does it.

Another great idea she had was to pre-package her ingredients into brown paper lunch bags.  This proves to her that she owns every single ingredient that goes with that meal.  She will never be caught short of something she needs.  It is a brilliant idea.

When you first go to her blog, click on the words "Catch the Vision" on the right side of the page.  Those are introductory videos that explain her whole method.

I hope you will go and look at her blog.  I hope to do some ward challenges, directing our ward to go to her blog and use some of her recipes and photo instructions.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Save Money, and buy your food storage

I was reading on a website about saving money, and they gave a whole list of things you could do.  I about choked because I already did every one of those things!

If you don't have money to buy food storage, think about doing one or many of the following so you CAN buy your 3 months supply or your long-term supply.

Dismiss the yard and housekeeping services and do it ourselves. Cut coupons and shop sales for groceries. Minimize dining out and cook meals from scratch at home. Drive an older used car. Cancel the cable television contract. Keep a vegetable garden. Buy clothes at the thrift store. Buy household items used at garage sales and on craigslist. Cancel the fitness center membership and costly extracurricular activities for the children. Go camping locally, or stay with relatives, instead of traveling for expensive resort vacations. Get a set of clippers and do home haircuts. Use the library, rather than buy books. Sell or donate items no longer used. Combine driving trips, ride bikes and take the school bus to minimize driving. Cancel the children's cell phones. Stay home for entertainment, play games and read books. Check videos from the library, rather than go out to movies. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Is this lady crazy or what?

I have grown up LDS and have food storage, but it never occurred to me to do what this lady did.  She decided to practice using her food storage FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR.  Here is her first blogpost in January 2010.

I looked through a little of her blog and it looked great.  I will have to link to some specific posts later.  But it would probably be really interesting if you read the whole thing.

(And no, I don't think she is crazy.  I am quite impressed that she would do this, and then teach us all about it.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Successful Pizza in a Solar Oven

Go to and look at her post of Oct. 5, 2011.  She teaches step-by-step how she made 6 medium pizzas completely out of shelf-stable ingredients and cooked them in a solar oven!  It was amazing, I never thought you could do that.

Photo thanks to  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Book of Gomer: A Parable

(This is a cute parable by an unknown author.)

These are the generations of Gomer, son of Homer, son of Omer. And in the days of Gomer, Noah, the Prophet, went unto the people saying, "Prepare ye for the flood which is to come, yea, build yourselves a boat, that ye may not perish."

Now, Gomer was a member of the Church, and taught Sunday School and played ball, yea, even on the ward softball team. And Gomer's wife said unto him, "Come, let us build unto ourselves a boat as the Prophet Noah hath commanded, that we may not perish in the flood." 

But behold, Gomer saith unto his wife, "Worry not, dear wife, for if the flood comes the government will provide boats for us." 

And Gomer did not build a boat. 

And Gomer's wife went unto Noah and she returned saying, "Behold, Honey, the Prophet saith unto us, "Build a boat, that we may preserve ourselves, for the government pays men not to grow trees, wherefore the government hath not the lumber to build for you a boat." 

And Gomer answered saying, "Fear not, oh wife, for am I not the star pitcher on the ward softball team? Wherefore, the Church will provide for us a boat, that we will perish not." 

And Gomer's wife went again unto Noah, and she returned unto Gomer, saying, "Behold, mine husband, the Prophet saith that the Church hath not enough lumber to build a boat for everyone, wherefore, mine husband, build for us a boat that we might not perish in the flood." 

And Gomer answered her saying, "Behold, if we build a boat, when the flood cometh, will not our neighbors overpower us and take from us our boat; wherefore, what doth it profit a man to build a boat?"

And Gomer's wife went again unto Noah and she returned, saying, "Behold, the Prophet saith, build unto yourselves a boat, and have faith, for if ye do the Lord's bidding, He will preserve your boat for you." But Gomer answered his wife, saying, "Behold, with this inflation, the price of wood has gone sky high, and if we wait awhile, perhaps the price will go down again. And then I will build for us a boat." 

And Gomer's wife went again unto Noah, and she returned saying, "Thus saith the Prophet, build for yourselves a boat RIGHT NOW, for the price of wood will not go down, but will continue to go up. Wherefore, oh husband, build for us a boat, that we may perish not." 

But Gomer answered his wife, saying, "Behold, for 120 years Noah hath told us to build a boat, to preserve us from the flood, but hath the flood come? Yea, I say, nay. Wherefore, perhaps the flood will not come for another hundred and twenty years.” 

And Gomer's wife went again unto Noah and returned saying, "The Prophet saith, he knows it has been 120 years, but nevertheless, the flood will come, wherefore, build unto yourselves a boat." 

And Gomer answered her saying, "Wherewith shall we get the money to build ourselves a boat, for are we not now making monthly payments on our snazzy new four horsepower chariot? Wherefore, when our payments end, perhaps we shall build ourselves a boat." 

And Gomer's wife went again unto Noah and returned saying, "Behold, the Prophet saith that we should cut down on our recreation, and our vacations, and even give each other lumber for Christmas, that we might thereby get enough lumber to build a boat."

But Gomer saith unto her, "What a drag! Are we to cease enjoying life, just because we must build a boat?" 

Wherefore, Gomer built not a boat. But behold, one day Gomer heard thunder in the sky, and he feared exceedingly and he ran, yea, even to the lumberyard to buy lumber. But behold, the lumber store was crowded with great multitudes, all seeking to buy lumber, and there was not enough lumber to be found for the multitudes. 

And on the same day were all the fountains of the deep opened, and the windows of heaven were broken up, and the floods came - and behold, Gomer had no boat. And as the water rose above Gomer's waist, his wife saith unto him, 

"Behold, Honey, I told thee so!"

(end of parable)

Note from Amy:
Here is what President Ezra Taft Benson said in 1974:

 "The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah."  (Jan. 1974 Ensign)

He said it again in 1980:
" The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah." (Nov. 1980 Ensign)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jif Prices going higher in November

Do you have your year's supply of peanut butter?  Reports say that the price of peanut-products will be going up,

"J.M. Smucker Co. is raising prices on Jif peanut butter products 30% starting in November due to a weak peanut crop that has sent costs higher, President and Chief Operating Officer Vince Byrd .."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October Challenge #2- What if you are stranded at work

October 2011 challenge Provident Living Challenges:
Do one of these by the November Relief Society meeting and get a prize!

Challenge #2:  Consider what would happen if one of the adults in the family was at work when a disaster happened, and do at least one of the following:
Pack a 72 hour kit and keep it permanently in the commuting vehicle or in the workplace.  Include sleeping gear, long-lasting food, hygiene supplies, matches or firestarters, water, and flashlights.
Plan how to get home, possibly on foot.  Pack good walking shoes in your trunk or at work, if you regularly wear high heels or other unsuitable shoes.
During fall and winter, make a habit of always having cold weather gear (coat, hat, gloves, boots) in your trunk or at work.  If you have to walk home in inclement weather, or if you are stuck in a building with no heat, these will be important.
Speak to your family about disaster situations, and make definite plans in case communications are down.  Which will be the rule?    a)If you don’t hear from me, I will make it home myself, OR 
b)If you don’t hear from me, come and get me at a predetermined spot.  Think about an earthquake, terrorist attack, hazardous spill on the freeway.  Heading toward the disaster may be more dangerous than waiting for the loved one to get home on his/her own.

October challenge #1- Taco Soup once a week for 3 months

October 2011 ward Provident Living Challenges:
Do one of these by the November Relief Society meeting and get a prize!
Challenge #1:   Buy ingredients for TACO SOUP (OR YOUR FAVORITE MEAL. ) Plan to eat it once a week for 3 months (this equals 13 meals).  You need to figure out all the ingredients multiplied by 13. 
First:  Choose a recipe where all the ingredients are shelf-stable (this means they do not have to be refrigerated or frozen.)
Second:  Make the entire meal, and keep all the ingredients on the counter.  Write down how many cans of each item you used, and any other ingredients you needed to add.
Third:  Multiply the ingredients by 13, and buy them.   

Fourth:  Rotate and use the ingredients.  Even if you only eat this dish once a month, you will still use up the ingredients in a little over a year (13 months.).  As long as you always use the oldest and keep replacing with new, your ingredients will get rotated and won’t go bad.
Now I will give you the recipe for one of our family’s favorite meals:  Taco Soup.
 1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
1/2 package Taco Seasoning  (or 3 Tablespoons)

15 ounces canned corn
1 large or 2 medium can kidney beans
15 ounces crushed canned tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce

Combine all ingredients and simmer, or leave them 
in a crockpot for a few hours.  Serve them with the 
following toppings and additions: 
grated cheese
sour cream
green onions, chopped
black olives
shredded lettuce
Here is a picture of the ingredients that I used when filling my standard size crock pot (note: its different than the recipe.)

(1/4 cup dehydrated onions, 3 Tablespoons taco seasoning, 1 can olives added as a topping, 15 oz. can tomato sauce, 2 cans corn, 3 cans kidney beans, 2 pints bottled ground beef, add some corn chips as a topping.  Not shown:  sour cream powder.)
I learned to pressure can meat, so I have bottled ground beef.  (If you don’t want to pressure can ground beef, choose a different recipe that uses canned chicken or canned tuna.)
I own powdered sour cream, and dehydrated onions.
I own containers of Taco Seasoning.
I own bags of Fritos.  But I also found a recipe for homemade fritos, and tested it.  Although it isn’t as tasty as store-bought, I could make it work if I had to, and I have the ingredients.
Things I don’t have in my food storage:   We like this dish with shredded lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese.  However, if we don’t have those refrigerated items, we can still eat Taco Soup.  For your recipe, consider if you still like it without any of the refrigerated items that you usually eat with it.

Southeast Farm Press reports Peanut Shortage

Here are some excerpts from the Southeast Farm Press article, August 15, 2011:

"A perfect storm  is brewing,  consisting of a poor quality in 2010 crop, a lower than expected planting acreage in 2011, a poor growing season in 2011 and growing demand for peanut products.
If all these factors come together, it could be a devastating storm for the peanut industry to weather."

"Leek says from his perspective, there is better than a 30 percent chance that by the time this year’s crop is dug, we will run out of peanuts.
As of mid-July, there were less than 550,000 tons of peanuts in the U.S. pipeline. It takes 150,000 to 160,000 tons per month for the U.S market. Even with ideal harvest time weather, it will be a tight fit to get 2011 peanuts into the pipeline before we run out."