Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December Week 5: Bye Week!!!!

This is one of those four times a year when we have extra weeks in a month. You don't have any weekly assignments this week, but I  like to use it a as a time to get things organized and cleaned up. Maybe make more room on your shelves for the coming year.  Or if you feel like you have your storage area all under control, just take the week completely off! There are plenty of things to do this week (like take down Christmas decorations, try to fit the mounds of garbage into the garbage cans, dust the dust bunnies that have accumulated everywhere, clean out the fridge after the Christmas holiday... what the heck is in there, anyway?) Of course those are just suggestions. Not at all what needs doing in my own home. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December Week 4: Pam cooking spray, shortening

This week's food storage items are:

December Week 4: Pam cooking spray, shortening

If you use Pam (any of the varieties), figure out about what you might use in a year. Of course, this is only an estimate, but you can probably make a pretty educated guess. Do the same with shortening. Once you've come up a with a number for both items, write it on a shopping list, and go out in the next few days and pick up whatever you may need for the year. Once you have the items home, put them on your food storage shelves, and update your inventory sheet to reflect the new numbers.

Now since there are 5-ish weeks in December, next week will be a rest (or catch up) week. And then, we'll start all over again with January. Remember, this is never a job that is completely done. To have a good food storage with little waste, you will be purchasing and rotating constantly. But really, who doesn't have 15 minutes a week to handle that? That literally is all it takes. 15 minutes. Sooooo do-able!

And remember... we started working on the 72-hour kits. In about the middle of January, we'll continue on with the next step. For now, click on the 72-hour kit tab above to see where we are, and to catch up. There is still time, but try to get caught up by January 10 so you're ready for the next step.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Week 3: Hand-Crank Radio

This week's emergency prep item is:

December Week 3: Hand-crank radio

This is one of those great weeks where once you've got the item, it's done. Next year, when this week comes up again, you shouldn't have to rotate it or refill it. That's why I've put it on week 3 of December. I figured you just may have other things to do that week. :)

There are several different types and price-ranges out there. I obviously haven't tried them all, so I can only go by what I've got for my own emergency supply. I already had a Voyager Dynamo & Solar V1 Radio. It can be powered by battery, solar power, and/or by hand-cranking. It also has a bright LED flashlight. This year I bought another one that is a bit larger, and can also charge a cell phone. So, I'll keep one with my 72-hour kit, and the other in my emergency supply closet.

The smaller one (shown in the above photo) was about $30.00.

The specs are as follows:

Solar / hand-cranking powered radio flashlight with a USB outlet for your electronic devices. The compact Voyager V1™ radio offers multiple benefits all bundled together. Get standard AM/FM stations as well as shortwave bands to receive stations from around the world. The built-in flashlight add additional convenience and functionality. A USB outlet powers many handheld electronics like most smart phones (does NOT charge Apple devices). 

Radio dimensions: 13 x 6 x 5 cm
  • 1 Minute of cranking powers up to 15 minutes of radio listening or 1 hour of light
  • A built-in USB port lets you charge your small USB-rechargeable device like smart phones (Does NOT charge apple products)
  • Bands include AM/FM, and Shortwave
  • Super-bright, 3-LED flashlight
  • Built in HD speaker and earphone jack

The Voyager V1 can be powered by multiple sources. You can recharge an internal Ni-MH battery via the built-in solar panel OR cranking dynamo. The battery can also be recharged by a USB outlet using a mini-USB to standard USB cable (not included). The V1 can also be powered by 3 standard AAA batteries. 

And this is the larger one:

For the larger one, which was $45.00 on sale, the specs are:

  • This radio is durable, yet lightweight with a rubberized body that is water resistant<./li>
  • NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • When using the NOAA Weather Alert, it is recommended that the radio is plugged into a power source through the USB Port (In) or AC Adapter 3.5 mm jack (AC adapter not included)
  • One minute of winding will give roughly 12 minutes of radio play
  • The optional AA batteries cannot be recharged in the radio, only the internal Ni-MH battery is rechargeable.
  • 6 ways to power the Radio: Hand Crank Dynamo, Solar Panel, USB Power In, AC Power In, 3 AA Batteries, Built-in Rechargeable Ni-MH Battery.
  • Red or Green LED lights on the front of the radio indicate when the radio is on or when the batteries are low
  • 3 lighting options: 5 LED reading lamp lights (under solar panel), white LED light, flashlight red S.O.S. LED for emergencies
  • - See more at: http://beprepared.com/kaito-black-voyager.html#sthash.5i0IkbVt.dpuf

    Weight: 1.22 lbs. (19.5 oz.) Dimensions: 5.5” high x 8” wide x 2” thick Radio Size: 8” x 5” x 2.6” Radio Ports:

    • Earphone Jack
    • USB Port Charge Out (Many cellphones, mp3 player, etc.) Charge Built-in Battery
    • AC Adapter 3.5 mm Jack (adapter sold separately)
    Radio Reception:
    • AM: 520-1710 KHz
    • FM: 87.00-108.00 MHz
    • SW1: 3.20-9.00 MHz
    • SW2: 9.00-22.00 MHz
    • Weather Band: 7 Pre-set Channels
    - See more at: http://beprepared.com/kaito-black-voyager.html#sthash.5i0IkbVt.dpuf

    I'm sure there are many different hand-crank radios on the market. It would be smart to do some research and find the one that best suits your needs.

    After I got mine and saw what a nice small size it is, I thought it would be a great idea for stocking stuffers for my married kids. Hmmmm.

    Once you've acquired your hand-crank radio, update your Inventory Sheets and then sit back and relax and enjoy your holiday. Remember, this is a week-by-week plan, so you can jump in whenever. I received an email from a reader last week asking if it started in January, and though the lists do go from January through December, you can start the plan anytime throughout the year without having to back up and "make up for lost time". It really is an easy, manageable plan that is completely do-able even for the busiest families. You can adjust it to your needs as your family's size changes. We have adjusted through the years quite easily. As you adjust and buy more or less what your family really uses in a year (and rotate, as planned), you will have less waste at the end of the year. Yay!

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2015

    December Week 2: Popcorn

    This week's food storage items are:

    December Week 2: Popcorn - microwave and regular kernels

    You may be wondering... Why popcorn? I've purposely put popcorn in December because it makes it a very easy food storage week (which, for me, is a necessary thing in December). And if you don't really eat popcorn at all in your home, then you're free and easy this week. Which means you can do one of three things: scratch "food storage" off your list for the week, and just do Christmas shopping; or, you can catch up on a previous week that may not have been completed; or, you can take a few minutes to organize your food storage shelves.

    Now, if your family eats popcorn, then figure out what you use in a year's time and get to the store and pick up the popcorn. Then, add the popcorn to your food storage shelves, and update your inventory sheets. It's that simple!

    Before you completely dismiss popcorn as a food storage item, check out the article included below, from USA Emergency Supply. (to read the entire original article, click on USA Emergency Supply). Note also that popcorn, if stored properly, can last 10-15 years. You can buy it canned, online from food storage warehouses.

    "You may have considered popcorn to be junk-food. However, it actually supplies a lot of nutrition and is suggested as a snack by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Popcorn contains substantial amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, many of the B vitamins, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Pantothenic acid, Copper, Manganese, Linoleic acid and all the essential amino acids. And for how inexpensive popcorn is, popcorn will give you very good nutritional bang for the buck in your food storage or every-day eating. It's inexpensive, easy to pop and great fun to eat.

    Hints for getting the best popped corn: Don't pop popcorn in butter as the butter will burn before it can get hot enough. Popcorn pops best in temperatures of 400-460 degrees F. If your oil starts to smoke which happens at 500 degrees F, you've got it too hot. Any oil will work. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. For your health, you should choose a light cooking oil or better yet, skip the oil all together and use an air popper. The movie houses use yellow dyed coconut oil which does a great job of popping the popcorn although there are healthier oils you can use than coconut oil. To see if you have the oil hot enough, drop a couple of kernels into the hot oil. If it's hot enough, they should pop in just a few seconds. If you don't have a popper, any thick bottomed, high walled pan will do. Popcorn can even be easily made in a Dutch oven over a camp fire. When your oil is the right temperature, pour in your popcorn, shaking the pan to cover all the seeds in oil. Do this with the lid on to prevent burns should the hot oil try to splash out of the pan. Using a lid helps the kernels to heat more evenly and keeps the popping corn from flying all over the place. (If you are using a popcorn popper, shaking it isn't necessary because of it's rounded bottom.) As it begins popping, it's important to continue to shake a flat-bottomed pan. This helps any un-popped kernels to settle to the bottom of the pan where they can pop. As soon as you hear the popcorn stop popping, pull the pan off the heat and pour the popcorn into another container. It will burn if you leave it in the hot pan."

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015

    December Week 1: Matches, 100-hour candles, 12-hour light sticks

    This week's food storage items are:

    December Week 1: Matches, 100 hour candles, 12 hour light sticks

    We are getting to the end of the year! Now for those of you who have been following, and thinking you'll start on January 1, that isn't how this plan works. Start today! You can start anywhere at all during the year, and continue through. It isn't a plan that actually has an end, since every week from here til kingdom come, you'll be checking on (and updating, if necessary) your food storage and emergency supply. It's the only way to have a supply that is current and isn't full of expired goods. Sooooo, get started this very week!

    This happens to be one of those weeks where once you have it done, you shouldn't have to rotate or replenish it (as long as you haven't used any of your stock). It's handy to have a week like this scheduled at the beginning of December when life is a tiny bit crazy.

    The large can in the photo is one of two emergency cooking candles that I made years ago at homemaking night (that tells you how long ago it was). I wish I had the instructions, but I wasn't teaching the class, so I just came home with the cooking candles. I can tell you that the candle is made of sawdust and wax (a messy process), and has a wick down the center of it. The theory is that you can use it to cook over in an emergency. I haven't had to use them yet, but they are there, waiting just in case!

    The other items I have are the 100-hour candles from Emergency Essentials (on line). They are around $5.00, which seems pretty affordable for 100 hours of light. I'm pretty sure that in an emergency, I would pay the $5.00 to have light that I could rely on. I like the idea of having those around.

    Don't forget the matches. Buy a few good-sized boxes and keep them with the candles on your emergency supply shelves.

    I also have some light sticks. I think these might come in handy in a lot of different ways. These are also available at Emergency Essentials.

    Since these are items that you won't rotate through, you'll need to think of them in a different way. How many do you think you'll need in an emergency situation? If you didn't have electricity for several days or weeks, what might you need on your shelves? It's difficult to guess, but at least get some of the items on your shelves, and you can add to them later on, if you feel the need. 

    Now, I have seen a few other sources on Pinterest of ways to use household items as candles. This one, in particular, caught my eye. Since most of us have crayons somewhere in our homes, I thought this might be one to try out. In the particular Pin that I saw, it said that crayons will burn for 30 minutes. So, I figured it would be worth a try. I got a crayon, and secured it with a clothespin, and then put it in a pie tin.

    It took a few tries to get it to light, but it finally did light. And the flame actually grew to about 6" in height. (Yikes)

    Five minutes later, it went out in a flash.

    So, if you are relying on crayons for your emergency light source, you may have to buy several boxes of them, since the flame only lasts for about 5 minutes.

    I think I'll stick with the 100-hour candles. :)

    If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the blogpost that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.