Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February Week 4: Hygiene Items

This week's food storage/emergency prep item is:

February Week 4: Hygiene Items -- soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, shaving supplies, toothpaste, nail clippers

This one is pretty simple, and the amount you store would be the same for the past weeks... store what you will use in the coming year. Buy in bulk at Costco, or look through the sales and see where you can get the best deals. I have a small bin that I keep smaller items in (like shaving supplies, deodorant and nail clippers). You might wonder why you would have a perfectly good pair of nail clippers in your emergency supply. It is so that you'll have one there that you don't use, but that will always be there (in case you need such a thing and can't find any others when you really need one), which, by the way, is the same for most of the non-consumables in your emergency supply!

For shaving supplies, my family never uses or rotates through what I store, so I never need to re-purchase them when it comes to this week every year. You know those free shavers that you get in the mail or with your Sunday paper once in a while? I throw those into that bin, too, so I have a good collection that will get us through our shaving needs if at some point we have to shut ourselves in our food storage room and live off of whatever is on the selves (Not sure why we would ever have to do that, but if we did, we'd be okay... AND we'd have nail clippers!)

For soap, store both bar and anti-bacterial hand soap. The soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions and toothpaste should all be rotated through, so buy items that you use, and be sure to take and rotate from your shelves as you go. These items may have a lot longer than a year before they expire, so you may be able to leave them on for more than one year's rotation. Check to see if they have expiration dates on them. You can generally go about a year past the expirations on these items.

There are plenty of resources online, and you'll get a lot of different opinions on expiration dates of soaps and hygiene items. I found this list from Real Simple a couple of months ago, and they have some information on a whole smattering of items:

As a guideline, I've included a list below from Real Simple that includes some expiration dates for regular household items, including cleansers. I think some of the dates are on the conservative side, as I've used some of the items well after the time shown below, and they've still been fine.

Air freshener, aerosol
2 years

Antifreeze, premixed
1 to 5 years

Antifreeze, concentrate

Batteries, alkaline
7 years

Batteries, lithium
10 years

3 to 6 months

Dish detergent, liquid or powdered
1 year

Fire extinguisher, rechargeable
Service or replace every 6 years

Fire extinguisher, nonrechargeable
12 years

Laundry detergent, liquid or powdered
Unopened: 9 months to 1 year
Opened: 6 months

Metal polish (silver, copper, brass)
At least 3 years

Miracle Gro, liquid
Opened: 3 to 8 years

Miracle Gro, liquid, water-soluble

Motor oil
Unopened: 2 to 5 years
Opened: 3 months

Mr. Clean
2 years

Unopened: Up to 10 years
Opened: 2 to 5 years

Spray paint
2 to 3 years

2 years

Wood polish (Pledge)
2 years

Once you have decided how much of each item that you need in a year's time, go to the inventory sheet and change those numbers to reflect your family's needs. Then, put them on your grocery list, and when you have purchased what you need and have it all on the shelves, make the notations on the inventory sheet, and you will be done for the week! 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 most up-to-date post 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, February 16, 2016

February Week 3: Vegetable oil, olive oil, etc.

If you're just starting, and hate the thought of having missed several weeks of the plan, no worries. That is one of the beautiful things about this plan. Start wherever we happen to be on the list, and follow along week-by-week. This is not a plan that begins and then one year later, ends. There is no end, so it doesn't really matter where you start.

Now, to this week's food storage item:

February Week 3: Canola or vegetable oil, olive oil, canned butter, coconut oil

As with all the other weeks, store enough of each item that your family would generally use in the coming year, OR that you might use in a long-term emergency situation. For instance, back in January, we collected paper goods. You may say to yourself "We don't ever use paper plates or plastic utensils, so I don't think I'll worry about storing any". But, if there was an emergency situation where water was scarce, you wouldn't want to waste water by having to wash dishes. Paper goods would sure come in handy. And, if you never use them, then next year when it comes time to check that week's inventory, you won't have to buy any more paper goods!

So, with the items for this week, I will check and make sure I have enough on my shelves to use for a whole year, plus some. I hate to completely go through my stocks within the year, so I like to buy just a little extra. Coconut oil seems to be the latest thing these days (check out the list below), so if you're liking that, store some! Also, you'll notice I have Red Feather canned butter on the list. I bought some canned butter a couple of years ago specifically for food storage. I don't ever use it, and it lasts quite a while, so I just leave it on the shelf. Who knows... maybe canned butter will be just the thing we'll need when we cook up those potato flakes over our propane stove. Ugh. Since the Red Feather canned butter doesn't have an expiration date on the can, I've looked online and found varying reports as to how long it lasts. People seem to feel like it still tastes great whenever they open it, and some have even reported contacting Red Feather (click to read what they say about canned food shelf life) and being told that the cans will be good even up to 30 years. So, there you have it.

Some of you might be saying to yourselves, "If I store what I will use in the coming year, then by the end of the year, it will be totally gone, and I won't have anything in my storage." That is why I always buy a little extra, making sure to check the dates of expiration. By the end of the year, I don't want a bunch of things that I have to throw out because they've expired. So, its a fine line of buying what you need, plus some extra, but not so much that you'll be wasting food. As you go, it becomes easier to judge that. Some of the things we will be collecting never expire, some expire several years from now, and some expire within just a year. Don't worry... you won't have a bunch of empty shelves after a year. Not with this weekly plan.

So, write the various oils on your grocery list this week, and get started!

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 most up-to-date post 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.

More on Coconut Oil...
If you google "coconut oil uses", you will find tons of ways people use coconut oil -- some proven by research, many not.  TheHowToCrew.com offers a list of 20 ways to use it:

Here are 20 of my favorite ways to use coconut oil:

Deep conditioning hair treatment.  Rub a small amount of oil into hair (mostly at the ends), comb through and place hair in a loose bun or in a shower cap.  Let sit overnight and wash out in the morning.

Body moisturizer.  Rub coconut oil directly into skin directly after showering.

Eye makeup remover.  Rub a small amount of coconut oil on eyelashes or waterproof makeup and rinse off.

Cheekbone highlighter.  Rub a very small amount of coconut oil on the tops of cheekbones to highlight over makeup.

Vegetable oil alternative.  Replace coconut oil for vegetable oil in your favorite recipes.

Wound care.  Replace Neosporin for coconut oil to protect and help wounds heal.  Can also be applied to small cuts and scrapes to stop bleeding.

Dry feet treatment.  Combine coconut oil with sea salt to create a foot scrub.

Sunburn care.  Rub coconut oil on burned skin to help soothe and repair sunburned skin.

Stretch mark prevention.  Apply coconut oil to stretching skin multiple times a day.

Body scrub.  Combine coconut oil and sugar to create a sugar scrub to exfoliate and soften your skin.

Healthy smoothies.  Add a spoonful of coconut oil to your smoothie to help increase your energy.

Cooking at high heat.  Some oils can't be heated to high temperatures, but coconut oil is a safe alternative.

Popcorn topping.  Add a spoonful of coconut oil to popcorn and top with sea salt for a sweet and salty treat.

Shaving lotion.  Rub coconut oil on area to be shaved to replace shaving cream and post shave moisturizer.

Lip balm.  Rub a small amount of coconut oil on lips for a natural lip balm.

Facial moisturizer.  Apply a small amount of coconut oil on clean skin in place of usual moisturizer.

Moisturizing soak.  Add some coconut oil to a warm bath to soften skin.

Frizzy hair fighter.  Rub a little coconut oil between your palms and rub through hair to tame frizziness and fly aways.

Hydrating night cream.  Replace your night cream with coconut oil.  Apply coconut oil to the areas that tend to wrinkle and crease lock in moisture and hydrate skin.

Cuticle softener.  Rub coconut oil on ragged cuticles to hydrate and strengthen nails.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February Week 2: peanut butter

This week's food storage item is:

February Week 2: peanut butter -- creamy or crunchy

Decide how much peanut butter your family will consume in a year's time. This will be an estimate, and may change from year to year, so just come up with a possible number, and then check to see what you already have on your shelves, and subtract those from your total number needed. Then, go to the store in the next day or two, and pick up the needed jars of peanut butter. Once you've got them home, get them on your food storage shelves, and then update your inventory sheet. In reality, the process should take you all of 10 or 15 minutes each week, so this is something even the busiest of families can do.

Buy whatever brand and type of peanut butter you usually use. I buy both creamy and crunchy, since I use both, whether in recipes or just on a sandwich. And don't forget, there are lots of yummy variations out there. Whitney just gave Bob a new variety for part of his birthday present. And to some of you, this is more of a want than a need. Depends on how much you love your peanut butter and chocolate.

Be sure to check the expiration stamp on the jars you are purchasing, so that you know these will last you as you rotate all year long in your food storage. Remember, this is a rotating food storage plan, which will do away with having to throw out old, expired food.

I know that peanut butter is often on sale at case lot sales, and that is a good time to stock up, though it usually won't be in conjunction with this schedule. You can definitely try to work around the sales, and just buy enough peanut butter to get you to the next case lot sale, if that is a better plan for you. Sometimes if I see that something is on sale, I'll just buy whatever I need and put it in my food storage. I can then just update the inventory sheets, and when it comes around on the schedule, I wouldn't have to buy as much.

Do whatever works for you, but continue to inventory the items as they come up on the schedule, and try to keep at least some of the items in stock at all times. Remember the point of all of this: to get started today building food storage and emergency supply items. It would be costly and difficult to buy everything all at once, but one week at a time, it is very do-able! And if it is too expensive to buy all the peanut butter your family might consume in a year, then buy a half a year's worth, or less. Just buy and store something!

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 most up-to-date post 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, February 2, 2016

February Week 1: Juices

It's the first week of February! This week's food storage items are:

February Week 1: Juices: Gatorade powder, Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, lemon concentrate, 
apple juice, grape juice

Notice that the highlighting is now in red. This will be the color for all of the items in the month of February, and will coordinate with the items on the main inventory sheets.

When I checked these items in my food storage yesterday, I found that the apple and grape juice jugs were close to expiring. So, I brought them upstairs to my pantry and refrigerator, and we'll be drinking that in the next while. I had used the lemon juice concentrate from my food storage, which is exactly what is meant to happen. That way, I won't be throwing away old, expired items. The trick is, to rotate through them, and that is why it's so crucial to check what you have at least once a year. So, I need to get more lemon juice and fruit juices to re-stock my shelves. If you use lime concentrate, you might consider adding that to the list.

We don't drink a lot of fruit juice anymore, though I do love it. Too many calories when I compare it to a glass of water. That being said, I like to have some on hand, and I'm pretty sure I would love to have some if there were a long-term emergency! So, I will have a few small jugs of juice on the shelves. I also like to keep Gatorade powder. (Now this is something I NEVER use in regular life, unless I'm on a pioneer trek in the middle of Wyoming. And there, in the middle of nowhere, I chug it down like it's the most glorious thing I've ever tasted) Because it might be really handy to have in an emergency, I like to keep a couple of containers of the powder concentrate on my food storage shelves.

I do have some fruit juice mix that I canned at the Home Storage Center Cannery, which is good for a few years, and it is actually something that kids really love! I've posted before about going to the cannery. If you have one in your area, you should really check it out. It's easy to do, and it makes you feel so resourceful, too. To find the locations of the Home Storage Centers, click here. And to see a list of what is available at the Home Storage Centers (both pre-packed, and ready-to-pack), click here. And to read all sorts of other useful Food Storage and Emergency Supply Information that the LDS Church has provided for anyone to utilize, click here.

So, now I have my shopping list in hand for this week. In the next day or two, I'll pick up the items I need in my food storage and update my inventory sheet, and then I'll be done for the week.

If you like different juices or Kool-Aid or Crystal Light, or any other fruit drink mix or juice, add those to your list and stock up this week! We'll be working on tomato juice at another time, so work on all the other juices this week.

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 most up-to-date post 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.