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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Presentation "2012-A Year of Preparedness" Part 4

October 2012:
  Survival Practice at the Morrisville ward campout.
Camping is just practicing a disaster.  In both, there is usually no electricity or running water or heat.
Practice surviving at the Morrisville Ward campout!
At the Morrisville Ward campout, learn whether you have the right equipment for surviving without power, water, or heat.
 Practice using your tent, sleeping bags, lanterns, etc.
Plan ahead, What gear do you still need to purchase or obtain by October?
Do you have a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads?
Can you pack enough food for your family?

Extra benefits of going on the campout:  You get to practice doing these things again!!!
Practice cooking without electricity.
Practice using shelf stable ingredients. 
Practice using stored water.
Practice having no fridge or freezer.
Practice having no electric lights.

November 2012:
 Big disaster, no stores open.  Don’t buy anything or go to any store from Sunday to Friday afternoon.
This will be done in early  November so we don’t mess  up your Thanksgiving plans.
You also have Saturday to  do your Christmas shopping.
Do not buy anything at any store or  restaurant.
You may buy gasoline.
Use only food and items you have in  your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Important!  Before this challenge begins: 
Check all non-food items to see if you have enough:  diapers, baby formula, feminine hygiene, toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry soap, etc.
Buy all the groceries you need for the week.
Our goals:
To become more aware of the supplies we need to have on hand, 
To stock up on supplies so that when a store is not available, we have them in our house.
Develop a three-month supply,
And eventually obtain a one year supply.

“When the economies of nations fail, when famine and other disasters prevent people from buying food in stores, the Saints must be prepared to handle these emergencies.”
(The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 264)

President Spencer W. Kimball:  “I remember then the sisters used to say, ‘Well, but we could buy it at the store a lot cheaper than we can put it up.’  But that isn’t quite the answer, is it?…Because there will come a time when there isn’t any store.”  (April 1974 Welfare Session.)

December 2012
BUY emergency preparedness items as CHRISTMAS GIFTS  for many of your family members.
Gifts for lighting or making a fire during a power outage.  Flashlights, lanterns, oil lamps, glowsticks, solar powered yard lights, candles, Bic lighters.
Gifts for keeping warm in a power outage. Winter clothing, down coats, down blankets, ski pants, knit caps, mittens, snow boots, wool socks,
Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, wool stadium blankets, indoor emergency heaters.
Buy gifts for auto emergencies: Battery charger, fix-a-flat, wool blanket, emergency kit, star wrench, jumper cables, car phone charger
Flares, fire extinguisher, maps 
Buy gifts for coping with disasters:  medical emergencies, cooking without power, camping, etc.

January 2013:

Bathing Using Stored Water
During one week, every family member bathe ONCE using stored water, heated on the stove.
OR  Bathe your small children once using stored water heated on the stove.
OR Adults only learn how to bathe using stored water heated on the stove.
OR family members heat water in Solar Shower and shower with it.
Learn how much stored water it takes to bathe your family members.
Learn to use the leftover water to flush toilets.
Learn to use a solar shower (about $7.50 at Walmart.)

Feedback and Idea Sharing, Reporting Back
This whole project is worthless if we don't share what we learn.
During the year, I will be asking for your experiences.
Report to me, I will publish your experiences anonymously on my blog.

Thanks to our bishop for challenging us to get prepared for disasters.
In the August 2011 Ensign, Elder Allan F. Packer said, 
To gain courage for what lies ahead, we need to be connected to the gospel of Jesus Christ...This is not a time to be na├»ve, unprepared, or unaware....We need to have the Spirit and look to the prophets and our priesthood leaders for guidance.” “Solidly Anchored in Our Testimonies,” Aug. 2011 Ensign. 
Our bishop has received specific inspiration for our ward, and I have a testimony that by looking to our bishop and the prophets we will be blessed.
I have a testimony of the living prophets, who have testified over and over that we need to obtain food and other supplies for the trials to come.  I know that what they have prophesied will come to pass, and that we can have safety and peace by obeying these commandments.  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
(The end)

Presentation "2012-A Year of Preparedness" Part 3

June 2012
- Use Stored Water: Two different challenges this month.
One day flush toilets with stored water.
Learn how to flush using a bucket of water poured into the bowl.
Learn how to flush by filling the tank of the toilet.
Learn to flush the toilet less often.
You will realize how much water toilets use.
You will learn to refill clean juice and soda pop bottles with water.
No need to use expensive bottled water for flushing.
(After the day of flushing toilets, Refill containers.)
2nd Challenge: One day cook and drink with stored water.
If you have purchased water, here is when to use it.
Stored tapwater is also fine to use.
Put tape over all your sink faucets early one morning.
Put filled water containers near every faucet.
Drink and cook today using NO TAP WATER, just stored water.
Also brush your teeth with stored water.
It is okay to shower,wash dishes and laundry, and flush toilets as usual.

July 2012
 Picture a long-term power outage. Plan at least 7 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners using only shelf stable ingredients.   (Shelf stable means it doesn’t need refrigeration.)
Obtain shelf stable food.You will be using these shelf stable foods during our August challenge.
How will you feed your family without a fridge?
Can you make the regular foods your family likes?
Do too many of your recipes rely on milk, butter, eggs, fresh produce and other perishables?
What ingredients can you buy to substitute for some of those perishables?
Consider buying:
Ready made mixes which only need water added.
Canned soups, canned chicken or tuna.
Powdered milk and powdered eggs.
Dehydrated and freeze dried items.
Any foods which are good for camping would also be good for this.
(Photos of Asian Helper and canned chicken, spaghetti sauce and noodles)

No Power.  Do not use fridge or freezer foods for 3 days.
For 3 days, make all your meals out of shelf stable ingredients.
You are not restricted from shopping, but you can’t use anything refrigerated or frozen.
Tape your fridge and freezer shut from Sunday after church until Wednesday breakfast.
Using all other electricity is OKAY during this challenge.
No using ice or ice chests.
If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge, but you can’t get them back out until Wednesday.
Learn whether you have all the ingredients necessary for making the food you want to eat.
Are the meals nourishing?
Learn to cook with some substitutions.

Cooking without electricity.  Cook 2 menu items.
At our ward picnic on Labor Day, we will have an outdoor Cook Off where everyone can try out alternative cooking methods.
Rules : 
Cook or bake two  menu items without using  your electric stove, oven, or microwave. OR each person above the age of 12 cook one item without using electricity.
Your gas kitchen range or  oven is also off-limits.
No electric can openers allowed!
Our goals:
To make you think about this BEFORE a real power outage.
To show you how important it is to OWN alternative cooking equipment
To get you to learn how to use your cooking equipment.
Women, as well as men, need to know how to cook outdoors.
Even if you have a gas range, practice using an alternate source of cooking.  Use an outdoor gas grill, solar oven, campstove, backpacking stove, fireplace, fire pit,etc. 

Presentation "2012-A Year of Preparedness" Part 2

March 2012
-  Practice Having No Lights and No Powered Entertainment for One Evening
Our YMYW will be having “No Media Week” for Youth during Missionary Month on March 11-17 already.  They have to go without media for a whole week.  So choose one of those evenings to participate with them.
On one of those evenings, put tape over all your light switches. Don't turn on the lights again until your normal wake up time the next morning.
Don't use any electric lights.All other electricity can be used normally for cooking, laundry, etc.
Don't use any powered entertainment or media.
You may talk on the phone minimally, but don’t use your phone’s games or internet.
See if you have enough emergency lighting.
Learn how to entertain the children and the adults without power.

Collect non-electric lighting. Flashlights, batteries, lanterns, glowsticks, candles, matches, solar lawn lights, etc.  Determine if you need to buy more, and buy them.
Solar powered lighting can be charged in daylight, and then brought indoors.
Be careful using candles around children
Light sticks can be hung on bathroom doorknobs.
Remember batteries, matches, and lantern fuel.
Plan some games and activities for the children.  Get books, board games.
What will the adults do without their TV and computers?
Pretend the power has been off for more than a week, all your electronics' batteries are dead, and you can't recharge them.

April 2012- 
Learn about Food Storage, and Plan Menus using your Family's Favorite Foods.Begin buying food from your plan.
We will be receiving training about food storage this whole month, and that will carry over into other months as well.
Each family will plan a three month's supply of food.
Each family will begin obtaining a three month's supply of food.
Each family will learn the importance of obtaining their one year's supply.

May 2012
- Obtain Containers and Fill them with Water
(And keep buying food)
Ward members will obtain more than 14 gallons per person.
In June we will begin using the water in challenges.
You may want to buy bottled water for drinking and cooking.
Save your money: Don't use expensive bottled water for bathing or washing.
You may use clean soda pop or juice bottles, or purchased containers.
Do NOT use milk jugs.  They disintegrate and leak. states: It is NOT NECESSARY to add bleach to treated city water.

Water Storage

We are asked to store two weeks’ worth of water: 14 gallons per person, which is one gallon per person per day.  This allows two quarts for drinking and two quarts for very basic cleaning. 
Family of one: 14 gallons
Family of two: 28 gallons
Family of three: 42 gallons
Family of four: 56 gallons
Family of five: 70 gallons
Family of six: 84 gallons

Presentation "2012-A Year of Preparedness" Part 1

Welcome to our 5th Sunday presentation.  
“Signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity.While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us.We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming."       Dallin H. Oaks, Preparation for the Second Coming, May 2004 Ensign

Are events increasing in frequency and intensity?  Yes, according to USA Today.

2011 was costliest year in world disasters
By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Jan. 4, 2012
The USA had company as it suffered through devastating weather and climate disasters
 in 2011. The entire world endured its costliest year ever for losses from natural disasters at more than a third of a trillion dollars in damage, according to a report released Wednesday.....

Will things get better?  Not according to Elder Henry B. Eyring.  

“Change is also accelerating in the world around us.....(and) much of the acceleration in the world is in troubles long prophesied for the last days. Each time you watch the evening news, you see stark evidence of that....The giant earthquake, and the tsunamis it sent crashing into the coasts around the Indian Ocean,is just the beginning and a part of what is to come, terrible as it was.  “Raise the Bar”, January 25, 2005.

If our prophets have prophesied that disasters are going to get worse...
We better get prepared for disasters.

What do most disasters have in common?  No power, no city water, no stores open, loss of heat, loss of services, loss of communications, loss of transportation.

Our bishop has been inspired to help us get ready.
Bishop B.'s instructions to me (the ward provident living specialist):

1. Make challenges for the ward to do, to help us learn emergency preparedness and food storage skills.

2. Challenges must be do-able.

3. Challenges must NOT be surprises.

The challenges:   

are voluntary.  
will give you skills 
can be done on another day if you cannot  do it as scheduled.

The Calendar:

We have challenges scheduled for the next 12 months.

First, we are going to prepare.

Next, we are going to PRACTICE disaster situations.

Disaster scenarios have been broken down into bite-sized pieces.

Feb. 2012- Practice having no heat in your house for one night.
You can turn off the heater down to 40 degrees all night, OR
You can leave on the heater for the children, and just block your master bedroom door and open the bedroom windows.
Goals: For you to find  out:
if you have enough blankets
If you have enough warm clothing
If you have an emergency heater.

Do you have any type of an approved indoor heater?
Kerosene and Propane heaters are available.
Never use an unapproved heater indoors.
Conserve body heat by setting up a tent in your warmest room, and sleep inside of it.

Calendar for "2012-A Year of Preparedness"

Today I gave  the 5th Sunday presentation at my ward.  First, I played the two youtube videos (which you can see in the previous blog post.)

Then I gave a 16 minute power point presentation, showing the monthly challenges which our bishop has asked our ward members to do for the next 12 months.

I will post the whole presentation soon, but for right now I will just post the Calendar so you can see what is scheduled.  Wait to see the explanations later.

2012: A Year of Preparedness
Morrisville Ward
No heat for one night
No lights, no powered entertainment for one evening
Learn about food storage, plan, and begin buying food from your plan
Obtain containers and fill them with water 
(and keep buying food)
Flush toilets one day with stored water.
Cook and drink using stored water for one day.
Plan 7 days of meals using only shelf stable ingredients (Shelf Stable means they don’t need refrigeration.)
Make all your meals out of shelf stable ingredients for 3 days.
Cook 2 menu items without electricity.  Show off your cooking at the ward Labor Day picnic.
Practice your preparedness skills at the Morrisville Ward Campout.
Don’t go to the store For 6 days.
Buy Emergency Preparedness items as Christmas gifts.
January 2013: 
Learn to bathe using stored water.

Two videos I showed at church today, Words of prophets

"We Live in the Days Just as in the Time of Noah"


"Great Trials Lie Ahead"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stay Tuned....

Sorry I haven't been putting up blog posts more often lately.  Bishop B. has asked me to put together a year-long push for emergency preparedness/food storage for our ward, and I have been busy putting together my power point presentation, handouts, etc. for that.

The whole 12-month program will be unveiled at the 5th Sunday meeting this Sunday.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homemade firestarters

During a disaster, (or camping) you will need to make a fire.  Here is an interesting way to make homemade firestarters out of newspaper or old phone books.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

White Flour in storage

In my food storage, from 2003, I had some white flour.  I don't know why I bought the flour, it was the only can of it I had.  I usually just buy flour as I need it, in bags from Sam's.  My long term storage would be grinding flour out of my wheat.

I started reading horror stories of people who had opened white flour that was just a few years old, and it was rancid.  I got curious as to whether mine was still good, so I opened it last month and made a small recipe of biscuits out of it.

I didn't tell my son anything, and he ate the biscuits.  I asked if they were okay, and he said they were fine.  I never told him that I was using him as a guinea pig.

If he would have said they were disgusting I would have thrown the whole can of flour away.  But I guess this proves that sometimes flour is still good after 9 years.

I have to say that this can was stored inside my house, so it was in a pretty good temperature.  Maybe the cans that went rancid really quickly were stored in someone's garage or attic (never a good idea.  Too hot.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Solar Powered Christmas lights

Here is a great way to light your house during a disaster, when you have no electricity.

Buy solar powered Christmas lights.

The day before Christmas I was at Walmart, and saw solar powered LED lights.  They were originally $20, on sale for $13.  (The brand name was "Philips" Solar Powered LED, 110 bulbs, Cool White Icicle Lights, For outdoor use, Lighted Length: 8 ft.)

I charged them for one day, then put them in my windowless master bedroom closet.  They shined for 4 days!  The closet was not as bright as using the ceiling light, but it was plenty light enough to get dressed.  If you needed more light I think you could use two strands.

I was so glad I had bought 4 sets, and next year I am going to buy more.

I am very excited that manufacturers are making solar powered items, because they are really going to help out people like me who can see their usefulness as a survival product.

I plan to loop them across the top of my draperies to light up a room during a power outage.  I just have to remember to charge them in the days preceding a hurricane or ice storm.

Monday, January 9, 2012

No need to add anything to city water

I was just asked if we need to add anything to tap water before we store it in clean empty juice bottles.  On the Church's Provident Living website,,11664,7446-1,00.html  it says:

Drinking Water
Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted.

If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source, then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soft drinks.

Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

So, since our city water has been treated with chlorine, etc., I see no need to add anything to it.

I do try to rotate the water every now and then, because I would be a little afraid to drink it after a year or so.  But like I said, most of this water will be used for washing, so I don't worry about using it for that.

To my ward: Give me empty soda pop/juice bottles

I am putting out this request to my ward:

Along with a couple of 55 gallon barrels, I also use empty clean soda pop or juice bottles to store water in my home.  I have enough bottles myself.  But I have heard of others in our ward who want to start storing water, but they rarely drink soda pop or juice.  

If you don't need your empty bottles, please give them to me so I can start providing them to other people in the ward.

Remember, these need to be plastic food grade jugs or bottles which held juice or soda pop.  We don't want milk jugs (they disintegrate rapidly, and it is impossible to get all the milk residue out) or anything which contained non-food products.

P.S.  In case you are wondering why anyone would want to fill empty bottles with tap water instead of buying bottled drinking water, remember:  Only a small portion of your stored water will be for drinking and cooking in a disaster.  The vast majority of it will be for bathing, washing dishes, laundry, washing hands.  

So even if you buy all your drinking water, please store much more than that cheaply by refilling empty containers.

The Church recommends storing a minimum of 2 weeks worth of water, which equals 1 gallon per person per day  (14 gallons per person).  

But believe me, that is NOT ENOUGH.  Every time I have practiced, it is much more do-able to have at least 3 gallons of water per person per day.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Remembering the Ice Storm of December 2002

It is such beautiful weather outside today, that I am sure that most of you are not thinking about winter weather.  But you should know that one of the banes of our existence here in North Carolina are ICE STORMS.  

I just found an old family letter I had written shortly after the big ice storm that hit North Carolina in December 2002.  One of these could happen to us this winter, and I wanted you to read my first hand account.  Maybe it will help you gather some supplies for the future.

Here are some excerpts:
I spent lots of time the first few days of the week (December 2002) getting ready for the big nativity scene event which was to happen Friday night at the Cary church building. On Monday the news started saying there was a chance of an ice storm coming on Wednesday, so I moved up my preparations.  I hoped the ice storm would be melted off by Friday morning. 
Wednesday afternoon the kids were let out of school one hour early, and the sleet and snow and freezing rain started and went on all evening. It wasn't bad at all, because the streets were warm enough that the snow didn't stick. The streets were wet all night. But the problem was with the air temperature. Trees got coated with ice and were breaking everywhere. All night it sounded like gunshots and big explosions as trees hit the ground. About midnight our power went off. 

(NOTE:  This was a very strange ice storm, in that no one was trapped at home by icy roads.  The roads were fine and we could all drive around.  But there was NO POWER because all the trees had fallen onto the power lines all over the state.)

(2.2 million people were without power.)

Thursday morning we woke up, and the sidewalks and streets were still passable. But we had no phone and no power. All my radios in the house ran on electricity, so I sat in the car a couple of times a day to listen to the radio news, and they said over 1 million people were without power from CP&L in North Carolina and 1.2 million people were without power with Duke Power. It was worse than Hurricane Fran, because with Fran, it took them 9 days to get all the power back on, but with this ice storm, they knew people could freeze to death if they didn't get the power on quickly. 

The high on Thursday was 34 degrees. We still had no phone or power. We had our fireplace on, and our kerosene heater. We cooked frozen dinners from the freezer on top of the kerosene heater, and then my husband cooked supper in the garage on the campstove (he left the garage door open for ventilation). I drove over to Tiffin’s, and her phone worked, so I called Marta A. (who was the chairman over the whole big nativity event) and she said she had so many trees down she couldn't get out of her long driveway. She was going to have to wait for her husband to get home on a plane, and he would drive home, and park by the road and walk to their house. She planned to walk out and use that car in the morning. She and I didn't know if the church building had power or if it would get power. 

Thursday night we turned off the kerosene heater and let the fire in the fireplace die down, and went to bed with massive amounts of blankets and sleeping bags, and slept just fine. 

Friday morning, I had set the kitchen timer to wake me up at 6 am, and checked to see if the phone worked. It didn't. So I checked it again at 7 am, and the phone was still dead. I had no idea if the church had power, but since I was in charge of the nativities I had to know. My husband drove to church and found that it had no power. When I heard that, I knew we wouldn't have the nativity event, but I couldn't phone anyone, I had to let them figure it out on their own. Later in the day I found out that Marta had driven to the church later, found out there was no power, and had put up signs on the doors saying the nativity was cancelled. 

It is too bad that the weather ruined our event, because we had articles in the Apex News, The Cary News, and the News and Observer, inviting the public to attend. But I'm glad it was cancelled, because if we had gone ahead with it, no one would have come anyway, people were so busy trying to get the trees out of their yards and figuring out how to survive without power. Most people, (me included) forgot all about it after Friday morning, and just went on with survival. 

We spent all day Friday trying to stay warm and cook food in unfamiliar ways. My husband had to go to work and was gone all day. The kids were bored without any TV or computer. Thankfully, our gas water heater worked great and I took a shower in the frigid bathroom. The roads were fine, so I took my kids to a few stores just for a break. The heater in the van decided to break, so we couldn't even get warm in there. 

There were whole sections of town that had power, so lots of people were out shopping, but as it started to get dark I decided to go home because I didn't want to be in that cold van. 

We had lots of different foods to choose from, but just for fun Friday evening I decided to try out a cooking method I had read about in Civil War books, where the soldiers would wrap bread dough around their ramrods and cook the dough over the fire. We tried it with biscuit dough wrapped on a stick we used for marshmallows, but it kept falling off. So I covered the fireplace shovel with foil and put a thin biscuit on it and held it in the fire to bake. That was a very slow way to get some supper, so when my husband came home he cooked a big pot of hamburger helper on the campstove with the hamburger that was thawing in the freezer. 

I went out to the car Friday 9 pm, and heard on the radio that 292,000 in the Triangle were still without power. It was 26 degrees. I came back in the house, and at 10 minutes after 9, the power came back on. We were so happy! 

I learned a few things in those 45 hours. 1) I was thankful to have a fireplace, firewood, a kerosene heater, and two cans of kerosene. 2) I wish I had a working radio inside the house. 3) I will buy a cell phone charger for the car. My electric charger did me no good. 4) I will buy an inverter, which can power your fridge or other electric appliance or gadget from the car battery. 5) And most important, always keep my husband around to help out in a power outage.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reuters: "Disasters will cause widespread disruption"

Here are excerpts from the story:

"The global economy could withstand widespread disruption from a natural disaster or attack by militants for only a week as governments and businesses are not sufficiently prepared to deal with unexpected events, a report by a respected think-tank said.

Events such as the 2010 volcanic ash cloud, which grounded flights in Europe, Japan's earthquake and tsunami and Thailand's floods last year, have showed that key sectors and businesses can be severely affected if disruption to production or transport goes on for more than a week."
"'Be Prepared'Costs can escalate quickly when transport or major production hubs are disrupted for more than a few days, which can in turn threaten food and water supplies and energy and communication networks, the report said."

But you already knew that natural disasters or military attacks could threaten food and water supplies, didn't you?  And thats a great reason to have food and water stored in your house.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Frigid weather!

On an exceptionally cold day like today, we get reminded of how much we rely on indoor heating.  It was absolutely bitter outside yesterday and today!

Just think about it.....what if we had a disaster which caused our power to be out, and we had to live in such frigid temperatures all day and all night?

Do you have enough heavy blankets, sleeping bags, and emergency methods of heating your house?

Okay, now think about clothing for yourself and your kids.  If you had no heat, you would still need to be moving around and accomplishing things (like cooking, changing diapers, etc.).  You can't stay under blankets all day.  Do you have warm clothing for all parts of everybody's body?   Picture each person head to toe.  Do you have each of these things, in the correct sizes for every member of your family?

Warm hat
warm gloves or mittens
work gloves
warm shirt
warm jacket or sweatshirt
waterproof poncho
heavy coat
insulated pants, ski pants, or long johns and pants
heavy socks
boots, snowboots, or sturdy shoes, for walking in adverse conditions

I am continually reminded that we are supposed to have one year's supply of food, clothing, and if possible, fuel.  So I like to stock up on winter clothing for every size, every time I see something good at a thrift store.  I don't want my little grandchildren to be cold!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jan. 2012 Provident Living Challenges

January 2012 Provident Living Challenges
Do one of these by the February 2012 evening Relief Society meeting, and get a prize!
Challenge #1:  Buy Breakfast for 3 months:  Cold cereal.
Determine how many boxes of cold cereal your family goes through in a week, and what flavors they like.  Buy 13 weeks worth of cold cereal.  
Mark the date on the top so you can rotate the boxes.  Make a goal to never go below this amount of cold cereal in the future, so you will always have a three month’s supply.
(To make a complete breakfast, you would also need fresh milk or powdered milk.  However, that is not part of this month’s challenge.)
Challenge #2:
Safeguarding your important documents.  The challenge this month is to save at least three major documents (or categories of documents) safer than they were last month.  You be the judge.
Picture your house burned to the ground, with all your documents destroyed.  Which documents would be the most painful to lose?  This month we are going to try to protect our documents and find ways to store them safely or duplicate them and store the duplicates in different places. 
I will not attempt to list every document you might want to protect.  Some documents include confidential business/financial information, and these need to be protected from unfriendly eyes using encryption, locks and keys, or passwords.  Other documents, like recipes, can be open to the world, but you need to save them offsite because you would be heartbroken to lose them all in a fire or flood.
Think of all the ways documents could be lost:  theft, fire, flood, mold, chewed by mice or bugs, hurricane, left behind in an evacuation, etc.  Try to keep every document in at least two places OR MORE so that if one place has a disaster, you can get it from the other place.
Important paper documents:
Deeds to house, cars
Insurance documents
Birth certificates, adoption records
Marriage certificate
Life Stories
Financial records
Tax records
Protect paper documents from fire by storing them in a fireproof safe ($33 at Target) or protect them from theft in a safety deposit box.  Also, make copies and store the copies elsewhere (either digitally or on paper)
Where to store digital photos and documents:
Your computer internal hard drive stores documents and photos automatically.  This does not count for our challenge.  You need to find an additional place to safeguard your information.
Here are some options:
Store on CDs, ask a friend to keep a copy at their house.
Store on external hard drive, keep it at work or at a relative’s house.
Email them to yourself (saved on Gmail)
Email them to someone else
Pay an online backup service, like Carbonite or Mozy
Keep a thumbdrive in your purse or at work. (These can be encrypted with a password.)
Copy all your recipes onto a blog or website.